18 Times People Called In Sick At Work But Were Spotted In Public By Their Coworkers

A 2020 survey of 2,000 American workers found that 52% of them have faked an illness at some point in their lives to get out of work. Which is probably what we would automatically assume if we were to spot a colleague out and about after they called in sick. “It’s just an act! The slacker is trying to fool us and get paid for nothing!” However, as with most things in life, the reality is a bit more nuanced.

Yesterday, a person who goes online by the nickname EleganceMindset made a post on the popular subreddit ‘Anti Work’, explaining what they believe to be the best reaction to a situation like this and why we should not inform our bosses about it. The comment section quickly turned into an extensive discussion where people have been sharing their own personal experiences, full of both bad luck and bad decisions, and we at Bored Panda thought it would be an interesting topic to explore.

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After all, it’s something you can’t always openly discuss, for example, in your office.


I once was a manager at a McDonald’s. An employee had requested time off due to her grandfather’s memorial service. I obviously granted it. The store owner was pissed because it just happened to fall one of the stores busiest days of the year. He was convinced that’s why she wanted it off, not because her grandfather just died. Her next scheduled shift she storms in and turns in her 2 week notice all pissed off. I ask her what’s wrong and she said that the owner had showed up in the middle of the memorial service and walked down the aisles of the church until he made sure that he saw her. Then left without saying a word. I turned in my notice shortly after.


Had a co-worker whose kid was born with a heart issue, and whose partner left them in the immediate aftermath of the birth, which in turn necessitated selling the house they bought together

For reasons that are understandable for anyone who isn’t an utter [friggin] [prick], this co-worker took some sick leave for mental health/stress issues

Another co-worker saw them posting on FB about packing up their old house in preparation for the move

[Prick] Coworker went RUNNING to our manager about it, “they’re supposed to be off sick, they’re posting on FB, they’re looking at houses” blahblahblah

I have never conceived such an instant dislike for a human being


Absolutely not.

I had this happen to me. I called in sick, went to the doctor and got a prescription. While waiting on the pharmacy to fill the prescription, I walked out into the Mall to wait for the prescription to be ready.

Some girls from work saw me and reported it to the boss. Of course, I had my prescription receipt with the date and time and a note from the doctor. My boss called these girls in at my request and told them what a mistake they’d made by “assuming” and what that made them by doing so. You know the old saying….

I once saw a guy in Wal-Mart when he was supposed to be at work. I didn’t say a word. He saw me when I saw him. He goes back and rants and raves to his supervisor. He got a lecture from the Big Boss when he went in and said he knew I didn’t like him and that he was sure I told him what had happened. I hadn’t…. Even not liking the guy, I assumed his lead had asked him to go or he was taking an approved break. Not my problem and I didn’t stick my nose into it. So, he essentially told on himself.

It’s just better not to start these games with co-workers. Besides, sometimes we need a mental day… Unless it affects you or is a habit, why spoil life for someone else. This could have been a day where something terrible happened, a break up or even something else bad. Leave it be and wish them well. You haven’t walked in their shoes… don’t assume.


If I see a co-worker out of the office, I immediately turn and walk the other direction. I got to be paid to hang around those people.


Had a coworker who sat pretty centrally in the office so she was able to see when people came and went or we’re not at their desks. Nevermind that to actually do that she had to not be doing her work. Complained to our boss all the time and then we had to explain no we were not late or leaving early, taking longer breaks etc. A few people transfered out. Boss gets a promotion not because of the tattle tail. New boss comes in seems an even bigger business school uptight prick. Turns out he is not.

His first response to the tattle tail is to check time cards, see if our work is getting done, etc. So he starts giving tattle tail extra work figuring she has time on her hands. Tells her not to worry about what others are doing that is his job. She starts going to his boss.

His boss and the new boss come up with a solution. They move her over to this cube in a corner, very little visibility to rest of the office, a window that looks out at the brick wall if the building next to us, I mean 20 feet away. Also it’s an old building, heat and ac don’t hit that corner so well (reason it was previously used for file cabinets, copier, fax machine. Yeah now every time she tried to tattle they would just answer “the only way you know that is if you are walking around spying, do you need more work?”

She left a year later. Had tried to transfer to another department nobody wanted her.


I once asked my boss for a day off as a new video game was coming out I wanted to play. He confirmed this was ok. I told one of the ladies in the office (who would take random days off to RUN HER CROTCH TROPHIES AROUND) and she told the boss that it was disgusting I was taking a day off for video games. He hauled me into the office and gave me a lecture about investing in the job etc. i asked him if he remembered approving the day off and he said yes.

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I had to track down a really old part for a really old computer system, so I spent the afternoon driving from one computer store to another to rummage their back rooms and scrap bins.

I’m leaving one in the mall, empty handed, and run into a guy from another department. “Hey, how’s it going, blah blah blah, gotta run!”

When I get back to work an hour later I have a voicemail from way up the chain, asking why I was in the mall shopping instead of at work. I call the guy back, tell him about my little project to revive a 25 year old computer for a client, and he apologizes.

He then asks me what the other guy was doing in the mall. “I dunno sir, but he had a bag from ‘The GAP’.



Pre pandemic, the company I worked for had 5 leased buildings in a small town close to our main site. Many of these jobs including mine were office jobs, no need to have someone provide coverage during lunch, so if you wanted to duck out and run to the grocery store for a sandwich or run to the bank, you could do that, as long as you worked your hours, everything was fine.

Then we all saw an email, from a retired employee complaining about how he saw people with company badges at stores during working hours, how we should only have been allowed to leave our desks between 12 and 1, you know, when everyone else was out, essentially he wanted us all to lose our lunch time. CEO added a comment to all staff, just take off your badges before going into stores, problem solved.


I’ve only said something about this one time. My mom worked as a secretary at a small remodeling company. I happened to see their work van (covered in ads for the company) parked at a liquor store. I had already heard from my mom they were having problems with an employee, so I sent her a text with a pic to let her know. Turns out, they were there buying her a bottle of port (which she loves) for her birthday. And I felt like an asshole.


I let co-workers dig their own graves and bury themselves.

When COVID was in full swing, the company had a charge code specific to COVID so those who had to quarantine wouldn’t burn up their leave/PTO. Several co-workers took advantage (before the company required documentation of a positive test).

One co-worker, who also had a side hustle, took advantage of it immediately but was also dumb enough to post on social media him working his side hustle (without a mask) when he was supposed to be quarantined.

It didn’t take long for the project manager to find out.

I will never rat out a co-worker. I just let nature happen. :


I had a job one time and they were expecting me to “finish my job” every day, even if it meant working till 21pm (office hours normally).

So a colleague calls me at 16hr while i was jogging , and she heard I was jogging (out of breath) and she also snitched 😀

I mean I can still work after my run.

Didn’t really matter since I wanted to get fired from this job, which I succeeded in eventually but still.


I only got upset one time seeing a coworker out and about after calling in. She and her kids had Covid they were at Walmart no masks coughing on everything. I didn’t tell on her but I did text her she needed to stay home so the rest of us wouldn’t get sick.


I went canoeing when I should have been at work. I canoed past my boss who should have been at work having a lovely stroll on the bank.

Pointed at each other and went ehhhhhhh.

Snitches get stitches man. Or HR conversations which is much worse.


These people are the worst and in my experience, they’re ironically the worst workers. Happened to me once when I literally was just at the store getting electrolyte drinks so I could not feel as much like death. There’s two of us that work my position so he decided to throw me under the bus. I remembered that and used a personal day two days before a big event so he had a crazy amount of work to do lol. Already had issues since I get 3x the amount of work done than him. There’s no reason to tell on someone for that, especially not knowing the circumstances. …


While in college I waitressed at a nice restaurant. Most servers were older, so on hot days typically us younger employees worked on the outside patios. One of those evenings I almost fainted. Between the heat and dehydration. I was sent home.

Laid in the AC, drank tons of water, and chilled.

Hours go by at this point and the guy I’m dating asks for a ride home from the bar. When I got there he wasn’t ready yet so I came inside and had a club soda. I’m in loungewear, no makeup, etc. The shift is over for my coworkers and it just so happens the bar and the restaurant are back to back. A few of them come in and see me and ask how I am. I explain the above, how I did what I needed to do to feel better and now I’m here to drive someone home from the bar.

I was livid that they told my boss and I had to explain again the situation. First off, we are servers so our only income is tips so it’s not like I took money from the bosses or a coworker. We also have a lot of staff and due to people wanting to sit outside, it wasn’t hard to get an inside server to take my spot.

Running through my head was “well, how many hours from when I was dehydrated would it have been acceptable for me to go back in public?”

So stupid.


No! I remember once I was sick for a week and just felt better on the 4th day to go out for a few hours after being in bed all week and my coworker found out and was pissed. Yeah I felt better at the end of the day to sit and chill with some friends for an hour but not well enough to go work an 8 hour shift at a back breaking job. Being well enough to for a run does not equate to being well enough for work. Not to mention a mental health day which we all need. I also called out sick to get my teeth cleaned because I had no choice


While doing an internship I woke up with one eye really red and irritated, thinking it was a pink eye I called my boss, called in sick and immediately went back to sleep. I woke up a couple hours after and my eye had completely cleared. Later that day some friends invited me to a bar and off I went. Another intern from my department walked by after work and saw me. Next day the first thing my boss comments on is that I was at a bar. Dude, wtf?? That other intern was a huge asshole always tried to get credit for other people’s work. He got hired, I got my contract rescinded 2 weeks before it ended for reasons nobody ever officially told me although I had good reviews.


I was once sick with meningitis and off work on a short term disability with a doctors note saying that I had a communicable and potentially fatal disease. A co-worker lied and said they saw me at a club (but didn’t go up to said person, just saw them from far away and their similar haircut convinced my co-worker that it was me). I got called into HR when I got back about abusing sick leave and using it when I didn’t need it. I told them I had a doctors note and they started on about using paid sick leave under false pretences because someone had seen me out and about while I was supposed to be off sick. I asked for proof but they didn’t have any. I lost it and told them that it was slander to circulate unsubstantiated rumours and that HR should know better. I told them that a doctor wouldn’t write a note if it wasn’t warranted and that if I HAD come in I could have infected the whole office with meningitis which can be fatal. I could tell they still didn’t believe me but they backed off.

Corporate culture is bs. The whole movement to back to work for the “culture” can fuck right off. You mean corporate snitches and micro managing? Yeah no thanks, I’ll stay home where the most micro managing I get is from my cat who wants lunch early.
Source: boredpanda.com

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