Call-offs are the bane of every employer, some more than others. Staffing agencies definitely have more than our fair share simply because of the nature of the service we provide – many of the people employed with us are either on a temporary assignment, on the bottom of their career ladder, at the beginning of their employment ‘lifespan,’ trying out a job for the first time, or any combination of the above! So the chances an employee will ‘call-off’ while employed with us can sometimes be higher than most, and the excuses we hear (true AND untrue!) can get pretty wild.

Here are several funny excuses from AtWork locations across Tennessee and Virginia:

Denielle in Knoxville, TN
A couple of years ago we had a girl call out of work because she had a baby and didn’t know she was pregnant.

Kristina in Sevierville, TN
“I can’t…I have a dog.”
“Ok… you don’t want the job?”
“My dog can’t be home alone”

All this from the same employee –
He called in because a car wrecked into his house and there was a huge hole in his wall.
A few days later, he called in again saying that because the insurance wouldn’t fix his house, he now had lizards in his bed.
Another day, he called in because he had to get his stomach pumped from drinking too much Mountain Dew.
Later, he called in because on the way to work he spilled coffee in his lap and everything “down there” was blistered and just horrible.


After getting in this guy’s bed I got in his car and spilled this on his lap!

Mary in Johnson City, TN
We had an employee tell us one time that his wife died and then I ran into them (him and the dead wife) at Food City. She was resurrected!

I had a guy not show up the other day to get his papers to start a job. When I called to find out where he was, the woman who answered said he had to take his son to the courthouse to register him as a sex offender.

I have also been told that an employee couldn’t get off the toilet long enough to get ready for work.

One guy called out several days in a row saying that the doctors had taken his grandmother off of life support and then the next week, miraculously, she was alive and, according to him, having brain surgery!

Holly in Bristol, TN
An employee called me saying he wasn’t able to go to work today because his car was broken down and when I asked him if he let the client know, he said, “Oh yea, I went up there this morning and told them!”

Another guy was (at least) upfront when he told me that he didn’t go to work that morning because he felt like sleeping!

Carissa in Abingdon, VA
There is a guy that uses every excuse in the book to miss work. His most creative excuse was saying that his daughter was running from a firecracker, which burned her, and as a result was ‘kind of’ hit by a car. She was fine and nothing was wrong with her, but they were sending her to UVA in Charlotesville just to be sure. This same guy called out another time saying that his daughter had fallen out of her bed again and broken her arm.

Amanda in Knoxville, TN
“My dog ran off with one of my work boots.”

Irene in Abingdon, VA
I had someone call in one morning stating he was a police officer, Officer Crabtree to be exact. He said he was calling to let me know that one of our employees had been in an accident and he was calling in for him. I recognized his voice and I KNEW it was the employee. I called the town and spoke to Officer Crabtree. He wasn’t happy that someone tried to impersonate him.

In a classic case of TMI, I had an employee call in saying he was sick and had to turn around and go back home. He was on his way to work when he messed on himself!

Pamela in Gainsville, GA
An associate called off work because he said he had a boil on his bottom end and it hurts when he sits down. (The associate had a stand up job!)

Anke in Gainsville, GA
We had a lady call crying, saying the she couldn’t find her car keys and she didn’t want to lose her job. A few hours later she called and told the manager that her 1 year old daughter somehow had the keys. She found out because, when she went to change her diaper, the keys were inside!

An employee left me a voicemail telling me this, “Hello Miss Anke, I just want to let you know I can’t make it to work, and the reason is ‘as crazy it sounds,’ my dog ate my glasses and I can’t drive without them. I will go to Walmart as soon they open and get me a new pair.” His dad called me later to make sure I got the message, and he backed up the employee’s story. The Employee did end up coming to our office with a new pair of glasses!

David in Rogersville, TN
“I’ve been looking for a job all week and I’m too tired to go to work today.”

Samantha in Rogersville, TN
“I can’t go to work because I have to stay home and watch for the mailman to make sure my husband doesn’t get my government check out of the mailbox and cash it.”

“I can’t go to work because I got shot in the head last night.”

Double ouch!

Staffing Talk magazine recently did a blog entry with even more hilarious call-off excuses. Check it out here!

Written by Scott Morefield

Scott started with AtWork as a Staffing Manager in 1999, eventually taking over the Bristol, TN office as Branch Manager in 2005. After a two year stint as both Branch Manager and social media manager, he assumed the role of Director of Marketing in October of 2014. By night, Scott is a news and opinion columnist for BizPac Review. His work has also been featured on the Drudge Report, Fox Nation, Breitbart, TheBlaze, WND, Staffing Talk, among others. Scott holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources and an MBA from East Tennessee State University. He and his wife, Kim, live in Bristol, Tennessee with their four children.

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