In a viral TikTok, a child worker was filmed in uniform at a Culver’s location, sparking controversy over child labor policies at the fast-food chain.
The video, which has over 4.4 million views and was posted earlier this week by TikToker Alex Martinich (@alex.martinich), shows what appears to be a young child at a Culver’s restaurant wearing a uniform and walking around quickly to prepare to-go orders.
“She looks like she’s ten working at Culver’s,” Martinich captioned the video. “Didn’t know Culver’s hired Middle Schoolers…”
Didn’t know Culver’s hired Middle Schoolers…♬ I Wanna Go Home – Fat Cat
The viral TikTok sparked debate in its comments section over why the child was allowed to work, especially considering the difficult nature of working in the service industry.
“I KNOW she’s carrying the whole place on her back,” one user commented.
“And she’s already fed up,” another replied.
Some users speculated the worker might be a little older but simply “happens to look young.” Others argued back that the worker clearly looked like a child, saying, “There’s no way you’re telling us this little girl is 15/16 years old.”
Some users also wondered if the location had volunteer nights for school-aged children, or if the location was family-owned, allowing the young child to work there.
“Parents probably own the place so she can work when she’s young,” one user speculated.
“It has to be family owned [crying emoji] no way she’s a day over 12,” another argued.
Others argued that even if the location was owned by the child’s parent, young children shouldn’t be working.
“She should be out being a kid, not working,” one user urged.
In April, another user on TikTok posted a video showing a young child in uniform working at a Culver’s location. In 2019, Reddit users also said they frequently see young children working at Culver’s locations. In response, some users said they think Culver’s has “fundraising nights” where kids are allowed to come in and work for short periods of time. However, volunteering is not allowed in for-profit institutions, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Federal law mandates the minimum age for working non-agricultural, non-hazardous jobs is 14 years old. Hours worked by 14- and 15-year-olds are limited in certain ways depending on school hours, while hours for workers older than 16 years are not limited in any way, per the U.S. Department of Labor.
However, the U.S. Department of Labor also states on its website that children of any age can work unlimited hours if the business is non-hazardous and is solely owned or operated by a parent or guardian.
Like many fast food chains, Culver’s allows individuals to own and operate franchises, meaning there could be children working at certain locations owned or operated by their parents. Culver’s did not respond to the Daily Dot’s inquiry regarding its child labor policy as of publishing.
The Daily Dot reached out to Culver’s media team via email, and to TikToker Alex Martinich via Instagram message and TikTok comment.