‘I fell asleep in the parking lot’: Most bizarre excuses for being late to work

WASHINGTON — CareerBuilder is out with its annual list of the most outrageous excuses HR managers have heard from employees who are late to work.

As always, there are some doozies, like: “I was here, but I fell asleep in the parking lot.”

In CareerBuilder’s annual survey of both HR managers and employees, it said that when asked how often they come in late to work, 1 in 4 admit they do it at least once a month and 12 percent say it is a weekly occurrence for them.

Broken down by age, 38 percent of those 18 to 34 are late at least once a month, compared to 14 percent of those 45 and older.

There are plenty of legitimate excuses for being late — the alarm didn’t go off, the car wouldn’t start or Metro was late — but CareerBuilder said there are other excuses that are implausible, if not at least creative.

When asked about the most outrageous excuses employees have given them, here are some of the answers HR managers surveyed shared:

  • “It’s too cold to work.”
  • “I had morning sickness.” (It was a man)
  • “My coffee was too hot and I couldn’t leave until it cooled off.”
  • “An astrologer warned me of a car accident on a major highway, so I took all back-roads, making me late.”
  • “My fake eyelashes were stuck together.”
  • “Although it has been five years, I forgot I did not work at my former employer’s location and drove there by accident.”

CareerBuilder said the top traditional excuses for being late to work are:

  • Traffic, 51 percent
  • Oversleeping, 31 percent
  • Bad weather, 23 percent
  • Too tired to get out of bed, 23 percent
  • Forgetting something, 13 percent

CareerBuilder’s survey also found 65 percent of workers who arrived late stay later to make up for it. Sixty-three percent of workers said working 9 to 5 is an antiquated practice and 88 percent think start and end times should be flexible.

The Harris Poll conducted the survey for CareerBuilder.

It included 1,014 hiring and human resource managers and 809 employees and was conducted between November 28 and December 20, 2017.


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