​Late for work? Don't blame your lizard

Showing up late for work is common, given that one-quarter of employees in the U.S. say they do it at least once per month. But when it comes to providing excuses, workers fall into two groups: the run-of-the-mill and the bizarre.

Of course, it could be that the people providing creative excuses for tardiness are telling the truth about their encounters with wildlife or pants-stealing thieves. Odd excuses, however, may raise questions about a worker's credibility or work ethic. About one-third of employers tend to be lenient with workers who show up late, as long as it's only an occasional problem and not a habit, according to a new poll from career site CareerBuilder.

The most typical excuses for showing up late are related to traffic, oversleeping, bad weather, lack of sleep, and needing to get children to daycare or preschool, according to the survey, which was conducted by Harris Poll. About 2,600 hiring and human resource managers participated in the survey late last year.

Still, showing up late for work can threaten a person's -- 41 percent of the HR managers said they had fired someone for being late.

Asked about the most outrageous excuses they had heard for tardiness, the HR managers reported the following:

  • I thought of quitting today, but then decided not to, so I came in late.
  • My hair caught on fire from my blow dryer.
  • I was detained by Homeland Security.
  • I had to chase my cows back into the field.
  • A black bear entered my carport and decided to take a nap on the hood of my car.
  • My lizard had to have emergency surgery in the morning and died during surgery. I had to mourn while deciding whether to have the lizard disposed of by the vet or bring the lizard corpse with me to work.
  • There was fresh powder on the hill. I had to go skiing.
  • There was a store grand opening and I wanted to get the opening day sales.
  • I had to finish watching "My Name is Earl."
  • All of my clothes were stolen.
  • I was confused by the time change and unsure if it was "spring forward" or "fall back."
  • A Vaseline truck overturned on the highway and cars were slipping left and right.