Um . . . the dog ate my BlackBerry? . . . Would you believe a prostitute stole my car keys?
Those are just two of the odder excuses Canadians used last year to explain their late arrival at work, according to a new survey that suggests nearly one in five employees showed up tardy at least once a week.
Nineteen per cent of workers surveyed admitted they were late at least once a week in 2010, according to numbers released Wednesday by CareerBuilder.ca.
The previous year, the number had been 17 per cent, although the difference falls within the margin of error for the survey.
Another 11 per cent of respondents said they had been late more than twice a week.
Lack of sleep and traffic topped the list of excuses workers gave their managers, the survey said.
Fifteen per cent of tardy respondents blamed public transportation and 12 per cent said the weather had slowed them down.
Other common excuses including getting kids out the door, Internet use or their spouse.
Some employees got more creative.
Hiring managers reported hearing these outrageous reasons for delays: The dog ate my BlackBerry. A prostitute stole my car keys. I forgot it was a workday. I ran over myself with the company truck.
And one employee claimed a bear stopped his car, broke his window and tried to grab the occupants.
"While workers will sometimes be late due to circumstances out of their control, they need to be aware of their companies' tardiness policies," Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of human resources for CareerBuilder, a job-hunting website, said in a statement.
"Regardless of the reason, workers who are running late should always be honest with their manager."
The response to tardiness varied among managers, but 30 per cent of respondents said they have fired an employee for being late.
The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive among 227 Canadian employers and 550 Canadian full-time employees in the private sector between Nov. 15 and Dec. 2, 2010.
Some of the results were taken from a subset of the overall survey, leading to margins of error of plus or minus 6.5 and 4.18 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.