A Mississippi Wingstop franchise group owned by rapper Rick Ross’ family has paid $114,427 in back wages and penalties for labor law violations, the U.S. Labor Department says.
Boss Wings Enterprises LLC, the Southhaven, Miss.-based operator of five Wingstop locations in the state, illegally deducted costs of uniforms, safety training, background checks and cash register shortages as well as violated 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 assessed $62,753 in civil penalties, the agency said.
Tawanda Roberts, the rapper Rick Ross’ older sister, is listed in business records as the principal of Boss Wings Enterprises, Billboard magazine reported.
The department said its wage and hour division’s investigation into the pay practices of Boss Wings founded several violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, including :
- Minimum wage violations when paycheck deductions for uniforms and cash register shortages caused some employees’ average hourly rates to fall below the $7.25-per-hour federal minimum wage.
- Overtime violations when the employer’s deductions for safety training and background checks illegally decreased the rate-of-pay in weeks when workers earned overtime, which the agency said led Boss Wings to pay overtime at rates lower than federal law requires.
- Recordkeeping violations for failing to maintain a record of employee hours worked and wage deductions.
Addison, Texas-based Wingstop Inc. was contacted, but the company did not comment for this story by 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, director of the wage and hour division district in Jackson, Miss., in a statement.
“The law prevents Boss Wing Enterprises LLC from shifting operating costs to workers by deducting the costs of uniforms, cash register shortages or training expenses, or to allow a worker’s pay to fall below the minimum wage rate,” Hall said.
In addition to the wage violations, division investigators learned that Boss Wings allowed a 15-year-old employee to work past 10 p.m. several times in June 2021, a violation of child labor work hours standards. Standards prohibit 14- and 15-year-olds from working before 7 a.m., or after 7 p.m. from June 1, through Labor Day.
The investigation included Wingstop locations 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, up from $11.3 million, or 38 cents per share, in the same period a year ago. Revenues were up 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. That included 1,639 in the United States (of which 1,600 were franchised and 39 company-owned) and 219 franchised restaurants in international markets.
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