Twitter Drags Burger King Over Their Sign Asking Parents For Tween Employees

You've likely noticed in recent months that sections of the food service industry are experiencing a "labor shortage."

And based on a Newsweek report about a widespread trend of fast food restaurants posting signs out front stating that they're either closed or understaffed due to an employee exodus, it seems this is particularly true in that sector.

If you ask the owners of these franchises, you'll likely hear that they can't compete with unemployment benefit rates made available by the federal government since the emergence of the pandemic and that "people don't want to work anymore." If you ask those former employees, however, you'll likely hear that they left because they were spending their weeks overworked, understaffed, underpaid, and underappreciated.

With this lens in mind, many Twitter users saw something suspicious about one Burger King franchise's sign calling for parents to send their 14-and-15-year-old children their way.

The sign in question was posted outside of a Burger King location in Lorain County, Ohio.

As we can see here, Twitter user @Psygremlin figured that this offer to employ tweens who their parents deem as needing a job serves as a way to get around the work of making these positions more attractive to adults and older teenagers.

They also wondered whether it was even legal for kids that young to work.

And while some restrictions apply, it is actually legal for children as young as 14 to work in Ohio.

According to the state's Department of Commerce, as long as Burger King doesn't try to make 14 or 15 year olds work for more than three hours a day on a school day or 18 hours a week during school weeks and choose the appropriate times of day, what they're proposing doesn't violate the law.

But of course, that doesn't mean you have to be happy with the idea.

And from the looks of it, a lot of people on Twitter were anything but happy about it.

One person figured that this plan would only open up tweens to the same kind of abuse that older retail and food service employees often get from unreasonable customers, saying, "Just say no, kids. Keep your innocence as long as possible."

In response, another user who apparently works at McDonald's says that this is precisely what happens to the 15 year olds they've seen on the job.

Another person suggested that this wasn't the only problem with sending children to work at a fast food restaurant.

As he saw it, there's a good chance that a significant number of the tweens who end up taking these kinds of jobs will end up far more exposed to drugs and alcohol than they otherwise would thanks to older coworkers.

And considering that the food service industry in general ranks at number one for illicit substance use among employees and has for decades, that's not an entirely unfounded fear.

And although Ohio's labor laws seem designed to interfere with school at little as possible, one user wondered how successful they were in that regard.

As we can see, they suspect that giving a 14-year-old a job at Burger King runs the risk of de-prioritizing school, which they see as resulting in a less enriching education experience.

Of course, Twitter isn't monolithic and there were some who saw a potential benefit in having 14 year olds work at Burger King.

For them, a job like this was seen as a way to instill a strong work ethic in them and might lead to the development of new skills.

As for people who actually entered the workforce that young in the past, they were split on whether it did them any favors.

For one, it seemed like they were sacrificing a lot of would could have been their fondest teenage days for nothing.

For another, working during high school let them open their minds beyond the bubble they were raised in and they'd recommend that experience for everyone else.

All in all, the sign read to many as an alternate strategy to paying employees living wages rather than as any kind of favor to parents.

And considering that this issue is at the heart of the labor shortage that many restaurants — particularly fast food restaurants — now face nationwide, it's unlikely that their management will see much of an increase in their pool of potential employees without addressing it.