A Mississippi Wingstop franchise group owned by rapper Rick Ross’ family has paid $114,427 in back wages and penalties for labor violations, according to the US Department of Labor.
Boss Wings Enterprises LLC, the Southhaven, Mississippi-based operator of five Wingstop locations in the state, illegally deducted the costs of uniforms, safety training, background checks and cash register shortages as well as violations of child labor regulations, the agency said in a press release.
The Labor Department recovered $51,674 in back wages and damages for 244 workers and imposed $62,753 in civil penalties, the agency said.
Tawanda Roberts, the older sister of rapper Rick Ross, is listed in business records as the director of Boss Wings Enterprises, Billboard magazine reported.
The department said its Wage and Hour Division’s investigation into Boss Wings’ wage practices found several violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, including:
- Minimum wage violations when payroll deductions for uniforms and cash register shortages caused some employees’ average hourly rates to fall below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
- Overtime violations when employer deductions for safety training and background checks illegally reduced the rate of pay in weeks when workers earned overtime, which the agency says , led Boss Wings to pay overtime at rates lower than those required by federal law.
- Record-keeping violations for failure to keep records of employee hours worked and payroll deductions.
Wingstop Inc., based in Addison, Texas, has been contacted, but the company did not comment on this story as of press time.
“Restaurant industry employees work hard, often for low wages, and many depend on every dollar earned to make ends meet,” said Audrey Hall, district director of the wage and hour division at Jackson, Mississippi, in a statement.
“The law prevents Boss Wing Enterprises LLC from transferring operating costs to workers by deducting uniform costs, cash register shortages, or training expenses, or allowing a worker’s wage to fall below the rate minimum wage,” Hall said.
In addition to the wage violations, division investigators learned that Boss Wings allowed a 15-year-old employee to work multiple times after 10 p.m. in June 2021, a violation of child labor hours standards. The standards prohibit 14- and 15-year-olds from working before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day.
The survey included Wingstop sites operated by Boss Wings Enterprises in the Mississippi communities of Clarksdale, Olive Branch, Oxford, Starkville and Tupelo.
For the second quarter ended June 25, Wingstop’s net income was $13.3 million, or 44 cents per share, compared with $11.3 million, or 38 cents per share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue rose 13.2% to $83.8 million from $74 million in the prior year quarter.
As of June 25, Wingstop, founded in 1994, owned and franchised more than 1,858 locations worldwide. This included 1,639 in the United States (including 1,600 franchised and 39 company-owned) and 219 franchised restaurants in international markets.
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