The 15 Craziest Excuses Employees Have For Calling in Sick to Work

© Alexey Bannykh -
© Alexey Bannykh -

By Eric B. Meyer just released its annual list of most unusual excuses for calling in sick. “Lost track of time browsing TLNT or” didn’t make the list. (Probably because it’s sooooooo commonplace).

Here are the top 15:

  1. Employee’s 12-year-old daughter stole his car and he had no other way to work. Employee didn’t want to report it to the police.
  2. Employee said bats got in her hair.
  3. Employee said a refrigerator fell on him.
  4. Employee was in line at a coffee shop when a truck carrying flour backed up and dumped the flour into her convertible.
  5. Employee said a deer bit him during hunting season.
  6. Employee ate too much at a party.
  7. Employee fell out of bed and broke his nose.
  8. Employee got a cold from a puppy.
  9. Employee’s child stuck a mint up his nose and had to go to the ER to remove it.
  10. Employee hurt his back chasing a beaver.
  11. Employee got his toe caught in a vent cover.
  12. Employee had a headache after going to too many garage sales.
  13. Employee’s brother-in-law was kidnapped by a drug cartel while in Mexico.
  14. Employee drank anti-freeze by mistake and had to go to the hospital.
  15. Employee was at a bowling alley and a bucket filled with water crashed through the ceiling and hit her on the head.

When are employees most likely to call in sick?

  • Winter – January through March – 34 percent;
  • Spring – April through June – 13 percent;
  • Summer – July through September – 30 percent; and,
  • Fall – October through December – 23 percent.

Of those surveyed, only 28 percent reported checking up on an employee who calls in sick, citing the following examples:

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  • 69 percent percent required a doctor’s note.
  • 52 percent called the employee.
  • 19 percent had another employee call the employee.
  • 16 percent drove by the employee’s home.

Here is an infographic summarizing all of the survey results.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (, which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.