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The no-excuse excuse

Want to skip work? Our staff of in-house miscreants has compiled a handy list of excuses for your use:

My car wouldn’t start.

I don’t feel well.

My Uncle Zeke died.

I have jury duty.

Uh, wait a minute. You might need to use a bit of caution with that last one. Recently, an employee at an Asheville manufacturing plant used it, got canned, and then lost his wrongful termination lawsuit against the company.

Walter Hill contacted his supervisor one morning to tell him his mother had called to remind him he had jury duty that day. (Seriously? What grown man admits this?)

His boss told him to go, but to bring a note the following day from the court to prove he had been there. Hill obtained the note from court employee Beverly Wilkes, but he either didn’t bother to read it or assumed his boss wouldn’t, because the note stated that Hill had been excused from jury duty the night before.

But Hill stuck to the story that he had gone to jury duty and waited patiently in the lobby with three other fellows until a member of the court told them a couple hours later they were dismissed.

The human resource department at Hill’s work called his bluff and contacted the Buncombe County Court administrator Marc Shimberg to double-check the story.

“Hill was not in attendance and never served jury duty,” Shimberg said.


The jig was up, and as Judge Martin Reidinger wrote in his decision about Hill’s termination, these sort of issues are pretty straightforward in an ‘at will’ employment state.

“The issue in this case is not, as Hill argues, whether or not he actually appeared at the Buncombe County Courthouse for jury duty,” Reidinger ruled. “The issue is whether (Hill’s company), after conducting an investigation, concluded that Hill misrepresented his conduct and was dishonest with his employer.”

Maybe Hill should have used one of our other excuses.

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