Several Mississippi Wingstops operated by rapper Rick Ross and his family were fined recently for various violations. The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (DOLWHD) announced on August 11 that it had collected $114,427 in back wages, liquidated damages, and civil penalties from five Wingstop locations operated by Boss Wing Enterprises in the state. The agency recovered back wages of $51,674, liquidated damages for 244 workers, and assessed civil money penalties of $62,753.
The DOLWHD issued a press release holding Ross and his company accountable, stating, "The operator of five Wing Stop franchise locations in Mississippi who made employees pay for their uniforms, safety training, background checks and cash register shortages – and violated child labor regulations – has been held accountable by the U.S. Department of Labor, and paid $114,427 in back wages, liquidated damages and civil penalties."
Among the violations were illegally charging employees for safety training, uniforms, background checks, and cash register shortages. As a result, some employees' average hourly earnings fell below the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
According to the DOLWHD, the operators of the locations failed to maintain a record of employee hours worked and wages deducted. An investigation also found that last June, Boss Wings allowed a 15-year-old to work past 10 p.m numerous times. It is illegal for 14 and 15-year-olds to work after 7 p.m.
"Restaurant industry employees work hard, often for low wages, and many depend on every dollar earned to make ends meet," Audrey Hall, District Director of the Wage and Hour Division in Jackson, Mississippi, said 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."
Ross, his sister Tawanda Roberts and mother, Tommie Roberts, are named as owners of Boss Wings Enterprises LLC in Mississippi. According to reports, the Miami rapper owns nearly 30 Wingstop franchises nationwide and regularly promotes the chain through his lyrics.
Ross responded to the $100,000 bill he received from DOLWHD by taking to his Instagram Stories on August 17 to acknowledge some business mistakes he made."I want to take time to address something," he said, sitting behind a grand piano in the clip. "When you running a business, there will be mistakes, but as the Biggest Bawse, you don't make the same mistakes twice, you see?" Ross continued, "Taking accountability is big when you the biggest, and remember this, most successful people don't take stumbling as a setback but actually a stepping stone to greater things, you heard me? Let's be great."