In a viral TikTok video, a Chick-fil-A customer shares his shock at discovering a 13-year-old employee working at the chain.
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), American children aren’t allowed to begin employment until age 14, generally having restrictions placed on their working hours until they reach the age of 16. Most Americans begin work soon after those restrictions are lifted, with Americans of various age groups reporting that they obtained their first job at the ages of 16 and 17 years old.
That said, it is possible to begin working at a younger age if the child is working for a family business.
For example, “12-year-old children are allowed to work for their parents on the condition that their parents are the sole owners of the business they are working for. They can work at any time of day and for any number of hours, according to federal family business child labor laws,” writes Nicole LaMarco for Chron. LaMarco goes on to note that states may restrict this practice, and children are generally not allowed to work in hazardous roles.
While it may be legal for children to work in a family business, it can still be jarring when one sees a child on the job, as TikTok user @slim_tuni shares in a recent video with over 1.1 million views.
Oh my god 😭😭♬ original sound – Slimtuni
In the video, the TikToker can be seen asking a child worker how old they are. When the employee responds that he’s 13, the TikToker asks if that’s “even allowed.”
The child responds that it is allowed because his “dad owns the store.”
This isn’t the first time that child workers have caught the attention of viewers on the platform. In the past, users have spotted children working at other restaurant chains like Culver’s and Crumbl Cookies, leading to shock and surprise from viewers.
The comments section of @slim_tuni’s video was no different.
“That’s crazy,” wrote one user. “Lil man gonna be manager at 16.”
“Bro just trying to get the bag like the rest of us,” added another.
Many users claimed that working at such a young age was not uncommon, with several saying they held similar jobs at around the same age.
“Good job he working young, I started working when I was 14,” stated a commenter.
“Did noone else have a job at 13???” asked a second. “Lol i was flipping pizzas & working construction at 13 & noone questioned me.”
“I was 14 when I started working at McDonald’s,” recalled a third.
The Daily Dot reached out to Chick-fil-A via email and @slim_tuni via Instagram direct message.