'No-Quit' Notice In McDonald's Forbidding Employees From Quitting Sparks Angry Debate About 'At Will' Employment

The absurd notice got people thinking about labor laws, unionization, and the ways low-wage workers are consistently taken advantage of.

'no-quit' notice at McDonald's forbidding employees from quitting Gumpanat / Shutterstock.com; Reddit

We've all heard it ad nauseam — restaurants are breaking under a persistent staffing shortage that has impacted the entire industry, including fast food.

In the midst of this turmoil, one McDonald's franchise has decided to take the problem into its own hands, ramping up its efforts toward employee retention to a whole new level, one that almost certainly isn't legal and has raised the hackles of a lot of people online.


A sign hung in a McDonald's forbidding employees from quitting and stating it is a 'no-quit restaurant' has left people outraged.

Turnover is part of the deal of running a McDonald's. Fast food is notorious for its "easy come, easy go" work culture, and running a drive-through isn't exactly anyone's deeply held career dream.

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Rather than simply consider this the cost of doing business, one McDonald's location opted to instead have a sign made and hung in the restaurant declaring that it is a "no-quit restaurant," telling employees they are not allowed to quit without it essentially being approved by management first. 

no-quit restaurant sign in mcdonald's forbidding employees from quittingPhoto: @fu-kyouiquit / Twitter

It's unclear where the sign originated, but it seems likely it was hung in a single McDonald's franchise, as there's no way a global corporation like McDonald's would ever be so brazen as to post something so unhinged. But wherever it came from, it has left people online slack-jawed for its audacity.


The sign requires employees to meet with McDonald's management to 'resolve' the issues making them want to quit.

"We value you, your growth and your contributions," the sign reads before going on to blare, "this is a no-quit restaurant." 

What is a "no-quit restaurant," you ask? Well, who knows because it's not a thing. However, according to this McDonald's, it's one where "it is the policy... that an employee cannot quit until he or she talks to the Restaurant Manager or the Area Supervisor." 

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This is, the sign says, "Because we feel that many situations [that cause people to quit] can be resolved." The problem, of course, is that the "situation" making someone quit a fast food job — or any other job, for that matter — is nobody's business.


The sign immediately inspired outrage from people shocked at the McDonald's management's audacity. One woman on TikTok wondered, if "everything can be resolved," how the McDonald's owners would explain to its low-paid employees that the company's CEO makes more than $1 million a year.



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Others have angrily pointed out that the sign is likely an illegal violation of so-called 'at will' employment laws.

Explaining CEO pay is probably the least of this McDonald's owner's worries, however, because his sign is probably opening him up to a lawsuit for violating "at will employment" laws on the books in every US state but Montana.


"At will employment" is a cleverly worded legal phrase used in employment law to stipulate that employers can fire workers at will any for any cause, so long as the reason isn't illegal, such as discrimination. 



But "at will employment" has a flip side — while it stipulates that employers can't fire for illegal reasons, it places no such requirements on employees, who are free to quit at any time for any reason without offering any explanation. In short, employees don't owe employers a thing.

And that likely makes the notice at McDonald's forbidding employees from quitting without sitting down for a conversation first totally illegal, or at least unenforceable. Which is good, since it's dumb and makes no sense in the first place, as scores of people pointed out.


"What are they going to do, physically restrain you from leaving the building?" one person on Reddit snarked. Or, as another person put it, perfectly illustrating how absurd this policy is in the process, "What are they gonna do, fire you?" 

The owners of this McDonald's might want to try another approach, like making their restaurant a place people actually want to stick around. But first, they should probably consult a lawyer for some advice on how to not run aground on labor laws — once the lawyer is done banging their head against the desk in frustration.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.