Man Discovers A 13-Year-Old Working At Chick-Fil-A And He Explains Why It's Legal

Many were quick to yell about how this child's labor was being exploited, but the answer might have been simpler than a hyper-capitalist nightmare.

Man talking to 13-year-old working at Chick-Fil-A TikTok

Labor laws in the United States have been the subject of debate for many years with many new arguments entering the fold — let’s be real, who wouldn’t love a 4-day work week without a change in pay?

Among the list of things we don’t love, however, is child labor. Child laborers are some of the most unprotected workers in America and try as the lawmakers might (or sometimes even don’t), it seems there’s no end in sight for the exploitation of children.


One such child on TikTok has recently gone viral after a man spotted him working at a Chick-Fil-A and featured him in his TikTok video. The 13-year-old teenager explained why he was able to start working at the fast food restaurant so young.

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The 13-year-old working at Chick-Fil-A said his dad owned the restaurant.

Obviously in shock by how young the employee looked, the man under the TikTok account “@slim_tuni” decided to quickly record a video with the 13-year-old, asking him how old he was.


“You work here?” he asks the teen, who replies with a yes. “How old are you?” he continues, and when the young boy replies with “13,” he says “Oh my god.”



“Is that even allowed?” he asks, and the teen boy replies that it is. According to the US Department of Labor and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 14 years of age is the minimum for most non-agricultural work. This includes all of the retail or fast food work that many teens use as stepping stones to get into the workforce.

That also includes working a job at Chick-Fil-A. However, the FLSA also includes a clause that states any youth at any age is allowed to work in businesses that are owned by their parents, so long as it isn’t hazardous. They’re not in the coal mines, so I think he’s in the clear.


By this point, you might be asking yourself, does this 13-year-old’s dad own Chick-Fil-A? Doesn’t the FLSA mean that he would have to own the entirety of Chick-Fil-A? And you’re right, that’s exactly what the FLSA is implying — they need to own the business, and his dad does.

There’s a practice that many third-party firms invest in as well as individual restauranteurs partake in called “Franchising,” which basically means that you can open your own Chick-Fil-A and that location would be your business.

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Despite legally being allowed to work there, many don’t think he should be.

“Do you even know your multiplication chart?” the man in the TikTok asks, and although it’s hard to make out whether he said yes or no, it is clear that he says “My dad owns the store” right after, to which the man responds “Oh your dad owns it? That’s why, I understand.”


A teenager who may or may not even have his multiplication table memorized should not be working at a Chick-Fil-A, according to many people on the internet, and to tell you the truth, I don’t have it memorized either.

More Perfect Union reposted the video on Twitter, sparking a debate about child labor and explaining how lawmakers have been passing laws recently in order to exploit kids.

Many people claimed that the child was learning valuable skills, while others said he should be out enjoying his childhood. 


A deeper dive into the subject and overall debate see this as a potential case for the exploitation of child labor, but as one person pointed out, there’s a difference between the child being forced to work because of his socio-economic status which results in a decrease in the market price for labor, and the child is simply working for his parents.

If the child is simply standing behind the register and taking orders, not being exposed to danger by preparing the food, then I see no issue with him working for his parents so long as they treat him fairly, but it’s important to note that this is not always the case when it comes to child laborers.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Keep up with his rants about current events on his Twitter.