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We have a question on our online application that goes like this, “What would you consider an acceptable reason to call out of work?” The reason we ask the question, of course, is to gauge the potential employee’s attitude and overall approach to calling out. If they are someone who thinks it’s OK to call out because their uncle’s cousin’s niece has a cold or because Fluffy needs a mani-pedi, they probably aren’t going to be a good fit for our clients. In fairness, nobody I’ve seen has admitted to anything that off-base (so far!), but they have provided some funny lines over the past couple of years.

So, without further ado, here are a few real life answers, provided by a sampling of our applicants who applied from January-March 2014, to the “What would you consider an acceptable reason to call out of work?” question. For comedic purposes, I have left them unedited, with most spelling errors intact. Additionally, I sorted the spreadsheet I got these from by this question alone, and left the names off before I even printed it. I have no idea who answered what, and to be fair most of the answers were just fine (we appreciate ALL of our applicants!). But, it sure is hard to resist sharing some of the funny ones on our blog!

Acceptable reasons to call out of work – Part I

(Our comments are throughout the post and will be italicized.)


From the ‘I watch waaay to much TV’ category


Contagious illness as per CDC directives

Broken leg / LOL or a gunshot wound?  (red flag anyone??)

There are a few. Death, being sick, and being held captive


From the ‘So, how often DO you plan to be in court?’ category


If you absolutely have to go to the doctor, or legal reasons

Death in the family, broke bone, court ext.


From the ‘That’s the spirit but you’re trying just a bit too hard’ category!


I grew up farming/working. Farmers don’t take sick days!

I work regardless but death would be a reasonable call in

Honestly there is none for me unless you are on your death bed

Coma or impending death

Being sick and when I say sick I don’t mean just a sore throat!  (Oddly enough, this is actually a pretty good approach!)

Baby deadly sick Grandmother and if I’m so sick I can’t move no matter what u make u get to work just be happy to have a job!

No acceptable reasons

Don’t call out

Baby being born or very close to dying. Nothing less

Act of God

Being dog sick  (At least they’re not saying because their dog is sick.)

Not sure I have never done it  (yeah, right…)

You better be dying to call out

Your dead  (Hard to argue with THAT logic!)


From the ‘just…. Wow…’ category


Limb detachment

Lost limb

Missing leg


From the ‘Super-Speller’ category



Family emerngie

Family emergenty

Family emergency’s

Family emergies or sick


A deth in famliey


A bad econamony

A death in the family such as your kids or ammidiate family

Being sick where I am contagis to others

A family matter that couldn’t be avoid it

103 temp, throwing up or very sick, car blows up and cant find aride on some occurrences

I beter be ded  (or at least a decent speller…)

If u are running a temperature! Don’t wanna spread garms

Being in the hospital or a family member pasting a way  (sigh…)

If I am very sick or severe incriminate weather


From the ‘TMI’ category – (folks, this isn’t for the faint of heart…)


Sick like throwing up or caint get off the toilet (this one could have made the speller category too!)

Death can’t stop puking

If I’m throwing up and can’t move

If you are running a fever or puking

Throwing up on both ends

Uncontrollable bowel movements

Vomiting squirts or on death bed

Well just like Gatorade you couldn’t work with an upset stomach.

Being sick that you are constantly in the bathroom or having to lie horizontal to feel better


From the ‘Whuuut?’ category


Usually there isn’t one, but things do come up  (Yeah, just how often do ‘things come up’ for you?)

Something that is hindering you from working… runny nose  (Wow, what else would hinder you from working? A broken nail?)

Any  (There were a few who answered this way – needless to say if they were hired we questioned them a bit more than usual!)

Being layed off  (OK, you got us there.)

Dental so forth

Car broke down, death, or for  me my horses are lose or brke the fince but that only takes aminet so I never misss work I work no matter what I live by myself and no one to take care of me.  (Yeah, this could have made multiple categories…)

I do not know the appropriate answer to this question (This isn’t really designed to be a right or wrong kind of question, but this is definitely the wrong answer!)


From the ‘Please, oh puhleeeeze give me a job’ category


I just need to make some money my husband is not working at the moment and we need the money he is waiting on unemployment from his employer and have not got it yet…


From the ‘Juuuust a bit too specific’ category


To attend my mothers funeral

If my mother just passed away, but nothing else

6 to 7 inches of snow (So, 4 inches and you’re good, right?)

A cracked rib and a hospital note


And finally, an example of an ideal response (Again, most of our responses, to be fair, were actually just fine!)


Calling out should be reserved for true emergencies such as illness or family emergencies


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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