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Survey shows nearly one-third of workers fib about being sick

Hair dyes gone wrong, dogs with diarrhea top the list of unusual reasons for missing work.
by Paula Burkes Published: February 3, 2013

Crystal Drwenski of the Gooden Group can relate.

“I once didn't go to work because I got a spray tan in the early years of the spray tan phenomenon and was turned the exact color of the oompa loompas in the 1970s version of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,'” Drwenski said. “It was horrible. For two days I was out of the office."

A marketing director of an Oklahoma university said employees have sent her the following text messages: “I've had plumbing problems. … came to work yesterday w/o shower or clean clothes” and “Wilson (the dog) has diarrhea and I have to clean it up. Do you want me to send pics?”

Years ago, when he was a supervisor at AOL, Rick Barnes had an employee call in the Monday after the Daytona 500 when Dale Earnhardt was killed.

“She said he was her favorite driver and she was too distraught to work,” Barnes said. “You gotta love those NASCAR fans.”

A former secretary for a state representative, Ella Couture once left a voice message for her boss, saying “Today was canceled due to lack of interest.”

“My boss actually found it humorous,” Couture said.

Cause for dismissal

Other bosses aren't so good-natured. Of 2,400 employers surveyed by CareerBuilder, 17 percent said they've fired a worker for calling in sick without a legitimate excuse. Moreover, 29 percent have required doctors' notes or called employees later in the day to verify the legitimacy of claimed illnesses. Eighteen percent have other employees call those out sick, while 14 percent have driven by sick employees' homes.

by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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