Web companies helping people get out of work

Web companies helping people get out of work »Play Video

Most people have skipped work with a phony excuse at least once.

Now you can do it with more confidence.
Several online companies are helping people lie to the boss with official looking documentation: fake doctors' notes, medical exams, jury summons and even funeral programs

You pay for a template and then just fill in your information.

We showed some of the excuses to Human Resources Consultant Larrie Hellie, pictured at right.

He's been in the business for 40 years and isn't surprised by how low people can go.

"I had an instance where one lady we had employed I think buried her father at least three times," Hellie said.

But even he admits he would probably accept these notes as the real thing.

"I had some documents from my medical provider that appear to be exactly the same," Hellie said.

He said it is almost impossible to research every single doctor's note. And sometimes questioning an excuse is just too tacky, he said.

"Even senior HR people are not likely to want to probe when somebody says, 'Oh, I've lost my grandmother,' or 'I've lost my stepfather' or whatever it is."


But if you are caught, you could lose your job and possibly face criminal charges.

"It's not funny at all," said Mari Miller, the jury coordinator for Clackamas County. "It's very serious."

She said simulating a legal process such as a jury summons is a crime.

While court officials are concerned about fake jury summonses floating around in HR departments, they are also wondering how many people are using phony doctors' notes to get out of jury duty.

"Our jurors are expected to swear to the legitimacy of their excuses, and when they do swear and they use a fake form in the process, they are committing perjury, and they can be held in contempt of court for that," Miller said.

The Web sites do have disclaimers, such as 'for entertainment purposes only.'

"I don't know what people are gonna do, and people do it anyways," said Darl Watterhouse of myexcusedabsence.com, who is pictured at left. "People have been doing this since doctors' notes have been invented."

Another Web site, phonyexcuses.com, markets its products as great work and school excuses. The owner, Justin Kazash, told us he's not encouraging people to play hooky from work. Instead, he said he's trying to help customers avoid other commitments – such as a wedding.

Kazash said he denies a sale if he knows it'll be used to skip work. But if he doesn't find out about it, it's not his problem, he said.

Larry Hellie, the human resources consultant, says while it's smart to be on the lookout for liars, most people are honest.

"A lot of the times other employees will come to you and tell you, 'I saw so and so skiing on Mt. Hood last Friday.' "

He warns that workers who had to pick up the extra slack may be the ones who uncovers the truth - no matter how good your excuse looks.

According to a new survey by careerbuilder.com, nearly one-third of workers called in sick with fake excuses in the last year.

Some of the most bizarre excuses:

  • One employee said she got whiplash from brushing her hair.
  • Another said he tested some dog food because his dog was not feeling well and he got sick.
  • One person told the boss: "I can't come in because my chicken's feet are frozen to the driveway."