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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

Likely because of the peak in the flu season, January-February is among the most popular times of the year for employees to call in sick, research shows.

But according to a year-end survey of 3,900 workers by, 30 percent of workers claim sick days when they're not truly under the weather.

Next to actually being sick, the most common reasons employees call in ill are they don't feel like going to work, 34 percent; feel they need to relax, 29 percent; have a doctor's appointment, 22 percent; want to catch up on sleep, 16 percent; and need to run errands, 15 percent.

Topping CareerBuilder's 2012 list of unusual reasons for missing work are “My sobriety tool wouldn't allow the car to start,” “I forgot I'd been hired for the job,” “My dog was having a nervous breakdown,” “My dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation,” “My toe was stuck in a faucet,” “I was suffering from a broken heart” and “My hair turned orange from dying my hair at home.”

Not so strange

Oklahomans Cyndy Hoenig of Pure PR and Shannon Warren of OK Ethics aren't surprised at the latter two excuses.

“I once had a girl call me on a Monday morning and tell me that she had gone out of town for the weekend, met a new man and couldn't make it in as she was lovesick,” Hoenig said.

Meanwhile, Warren once had a former employee who inadvertently dyed her hair pink, using a dye named Copper Penny.

“She tried to come to work, but after a mean co-worker said something about it, she fled from the office in tears,” said Warren, noting people today probably would think such splotchy pink hues were intentional.

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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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