CBSN

More Workers Bending The Rules

We've all done it, haven't we? Called in sick when we're not really sick, or nabbed a pen or two from the office?

While it may sound harmless, office misconduct is on the rise. And that's a disturbing trend to many experts and to the economy, reports CBS News correspondent Susan McGinnis for The Early Show.

You know who they are: the co-workers who keep calling in sick, with every excuse imaginable.

A worker who wants to remain anonymous says, "My mother's sick. I have used my daughter's sick. I have used: 'Hey, I have a meeting at my daughter's school.'"

Another one says, "I would have to, like, change my voice a little bit because, you know, just to be believable. Work it that way and say that 'I just don't feel good.'"

Some are downright experts at it. So much so, CBS News had to hide their identities.

Silhouette A says, "An elderly parent is an excellent excuse. Father falls down the stairs - two days off of work, mandatory."

Silhouette B adds, "Kidney stones - totally fail-safe. No one wants to know. No one needs to know. They hear kidney stones and they start shifting workloads and writing Get-well-Soon cards."

"I use weather all the time," says one man who wanted a guarantee he wouldn't be recognized. But his disguise, Groucho glasses, gave him away: Dave Price.

From the weather to kidney stones, more people are lying at work.

According to CCH Incorporated's annual study on absenteeism, the number of employees calling in sick is at a five-year high, with a majority not really sick at all. CBS News' unscientific research shows, there's also very little guilt over it.

Asked if they have any guilt, Silhouette A says, "100 percent no!" and Silhouette B says, "Guilt? I'll worry about guilt on the weekends."

And it's not just the mental health day. Resume fudging is at a three-year high. And mangers are noticing, from padding expense reports to theft, office misconduct is rising.

When it comes to nabbing a notepad or pen or some post-its, most companies will look the other way. But experts say that just like that sick day, pilfering office supplies sets a bad example and could spiral into bigger things.