Hiring Managers Share Most Outrageous Tardiness Excuses

February 23, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – In a recent CareerBuilder survey workers shared a variety of reasons for being tardy, with the top excuse being traffic-related (30%), followed by lack of sleep (19%).

Nine percent blamed the bad weather for their tardiness, while 8% indicated a delay in getting their kids to daycare or school. Other common reasons included public transportation, wardrobe issues or dealing with pets, according to a press release.   

However, some workers had more “interesting” excuses for being late. Hiring managers provided the following examples of the most outrageous excuses employees offered for arriving late to work: 

  • Employee claimed is car was inhabited by a hive of bees and he couldn’t use the car for two hours until bees left.  
  • Employee claimed their cat attacked them. 
  • Employee claimed it was a delay with public transportation and produced a note signed by “The Bus Driver.” 
  • Employee claimed his Botox appointment took longer than he expected. 
  • Employee claimed his hair was hurting his head. 
  • Employee claimed they did not get any sleep because their boyfriend’s wife threw them out of the house. 
  • Employee claimed they knew they were already going to be late, so they figured they’d go ahead and stop to get donuts for everyone. 
  • Employee claimed their Karma was not in sync that day. 
  • Employee claimed they got hurt taking a fork out of the dishwasher. 
  • Employee claimed they weren’t late … the company clock was wrong. 


The survey reveals that 15% of workers said they arrive late to work once a week or more, down from 16% in 2009 and 20% in 2008. While some employers are more lenient with worker tardiness, 32% said they have terminated an employee for being late.  

The national survey was conducted among 2,482 U.S. employers and 3,910 U.S. employees between November 15 and December 2, 2010.