Frozen car keys, a functionally fashionable cement duck, and coin-operated newspaper machines top this year’s list of most outrageous excuses for arriving to work late, according to a new CareerBuilder study. More than a quarter (26%) of workers admit to being tardy at least once a month, and 16% are late once a week or more.
The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive© from November 1 to November 30, 2012 and included more than 2,600 hiring managers and more than 3,900 workers nationwide.
“Employers understand that every now and again circumstances will arise that are out of a worker’s control and unfortunately cause a late arrival to work,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “It escalates to a problem when the behavior becomes repetitive, causing employers to take disciplinary action. More than one-third of hiring managers reported they had to fire someone for being late.”
Traffic is the most common culprit causing tardiness according to 31% of workers. But not all employees blame jammed roads. Hiring managers shared some of the most memorable excuses they’ve heard from employees who were late getting to the office, including:
- Employee dropped her purse into a coin-operated newspaper box and couldn’t retrieve it without change (which was in the purse)
- Employee accidentally left the apartment with his roommate’s girlfriend’s shoes on and had to go back to change
- Employee’s angry wife had frozen his truck keys in a glass of water in the freezer
- Employee got a late start because she was putting a rain coat on her cement duck in her front yard (because rain was expected later that day)
- Employee’s car wouldn’t start because the breathalyzer showed he was intoxicated
- Employee attempted to cut his own hair before work and the clippers stopped working, so he had to wait until the barber shop opened to fix his hair
- Employee’s car was attacked by a bear (had photographic evidence)
- Employee drove to her previous employer by mistake
- Employee claimed to have delivered a stranger’s baby on the side of the highway
Other factors include lack of sleep, the need to drop off the kids at daycare or school, bad weather, and public transportation delays.