There is no shortage of inventive excuses that workers will turn to in search of a day off from work. Few employees, however, go as far as to tell a tall tale to police about being kidnapped and assaulted by a knife-wielding robber -- just for an extra day of rest and relaxation.
But that's exactly what Sheila Bailey Eubank stands accused of doing, according to news accounts. Police in San Antonio have charged Eubank (pictured above) with aggravated perjury after the story of her kidnapping reportedly unwound under questioning by investigators.
UPDATE: Eubank apparently is an employee of Gunn Honda in San Antonio, one of four area dealerships that made Automotive News' "100 Best Dealerships to Work For" award, the list of which was published in the trade publication's July 9 issue. Gunn Automotive Group, which owns the Honda franchise, was also named among this year's Top Workplaces by the San Antonio Express-News. Gunn Honda's website notes that a Sheila Eubank is employed at the dealership as a service adviser. Reviews posted on Yelp and DealerRater, by consumers who had their cars serviced at the dealership, suggest that Eubank did her job well, including one reviewer who wrote, "Sheila is a wonderful person and employee."
Police found Eubank bound with rope in her parked car in a field around 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 10, while making their rounds. The 48-year-old told police that a man had jumped into her car around 6:15 a.m. while she withdrew money from a credit union ATM.
Eubank said that the man held her at knifepoint and forced her to drive him to various locations for what she believed were drug deals. She told officers that he then assaulted her, tried to choke her with a rope, and then tied her up and left her in her car, San Antonio station WOAI-TV reports.
The kidnapping story started to unravel when police said they discovered a lottery ticket in Eubank's purse that had been purchased during the time she supposedly had been held hostage.
Surveillance footage at the store where the ticket was bought showed Eubank appearing healthy, unhurried and pleasant with a clerk as she made the purchase, the San Antonio Express-News reports.
Video at the credit union ATM showed Eubank withdrawing money, but there was no sign that anyone else was with her.
Faced with the evidence, Bailey allegedly confessed that she had made up the whole kidnapping story, saying "she simply wanted a day off from work and wanted attention." The Associated Press reports that she was released from police custody on $100,000 bail.
It wasn't clear what type of work Eubank does or for whom she works. The San Antonio Police Department doesn't provide such details in its public reports, it said. Also unknown is whether Eubank would've received pay for taking her so-called sick day, but many Americans don't.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about two-thirds of the U.S. workforce receives paid sick leave and nearly three-fourths gets paid vacation.
Still, some 40 million Americans receive no paid sick leave, a normal benefit for workers in at least 145 countries, according to a recent New York Times editorial.
The U.S. is the world's lone industrialized nation that doesn't have a national labor policy governing sick leave -- or, for that matter, vacation. And it doesn't appear that it will be coming anytime soon. A bill requiring employers to provide seven paid sick days has been introduced during each of the last five sessions of Congress, but it has been blocked by business groups and lawmakers supporting them.
Connecticut is the only state to mandate that employees of firms with 50 or more workers be granted at least five paid sick days a year. The cities of San Francisco, Seattle and Washington have similar statutes. The New York City Council is weighing legislation mandating paid sick leave, though Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to veto the measure, should it make it to his desk.
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