Is that toe really stuck in that faucet?

Workers often call in sick when they aren’t really sick. We don’t really need yet another study to tell us something we already know. But one done by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder came up with some gems from the call-in-sick front.

After polling more than 6,000 HR types and employees about why people call in sick, these excuses kind of stood out:

  • Employee forgot he had been hired for the job.
  • Employee was suffering from a broken heart.
  • Employee’s toe was stuck in a faucet.
  • Employee’s hair turned orange from dying her hair at home.
  • Employee got sick from reading too much.
  • Employee’s sobriety tool wouldn’t allow the car to start.
  • Employee said her dog was having a nervous breakdown.
  • Employee’s dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation.
  • Employee said a bird bit her.
  • Employee was upset after watching The Hunger Games.

Less mind-boggling are the following more common reasons that workers call in sick when they aren’t sick:

  • I don’t feel like going to work (34 percent).
  • I need to relax (29 percent).
  • I have a doctor’s appointment (22 percent).
  • I need to catch up on sleep (16 percent).
  • I’m running errands! (15 percent).

After hearing excuses like these and others for years, some managers are fighting back.

The poll reports that 17 percent of employers didn’t just accept the excuse,  and fired the employee. Others at least checked out the excuse. Here’s how some of them did it:

  • 29 percent of employers say they have asked for a doctor’s note or called an employee to verify that the illness is legitimate;
  • 18 percent have had other employees call a suspected faker (nothing like a sycophant at the ready);
  • 14 percent have even gone so far as to drive by the employee’s home.

Managers in that last category probably ought to look up the definition of “stalking.” Driving by someone’s house is just plain creepy.