Wingstop properties managed by rapper Rick Ross’ mother and sister in Mississippi have been found to have violated federal labor laws. The two are listed on the paperwork for five Mississippi locations where investigators found the management illegally deducted money from workers’ wages and made them pay for their own uniforms.
In a statement released on Thursday, Aug. 11, and obtained by Finurah, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division said five Boss Wings/ Wingstop franchises required employees to pay for background checks, the uniforms they wore, training, and shortages in their cash register.
These deductions would sometimes leave workers taking home pay that equated to less than $7.25 an hour, and Boss Wings “has been held accountable by the U.S. Department of Labor, and paid $114,427 in back wages, liquidated damages and civil penalties.”
The DOL probe discovered 244 workers were owed $51,674 in missing wages and the franchise company was required to pay $62,753 in civil penalties.
Tawanda Roberts, the star’s older sister and business partner, and his mother are listed on business records as registered agents and/or managers of Boss Wings Enterprises LLC in Mississippi.
In a statement, Audrey Hall, the Wage and Hour Division director of the agency’s Jackson, Mississippi, office, said, “Restaurant industry employees work hard, often for low wages, and many depend on every dollar earned to make ends meet. The law prevents Boss Wing Enterprises LLC from shifting operating costs to workers … or to allow a worker’s pay to fall below the minimum wage rate.”
At least one of the Boss Wings locations also violated child labor regulations. The DOL said it “learned that Boss Wings allowed a 15-year-old employee to work past 10 p.m. several times in June 2021, a violation of FLSA 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 DOL investigated the following Boss Wings spots operating as Wingstop restaurants in the following Mississippi locations: Clarksdale, Tupelo, Starkville, Olive Branch, and Oxford.
While Boss Wings has not given a formal statement about the investigation’s finding and the fines, Wingstop, the corporate entity Ross has publicly said he was in contract with, did, distancing themselves from the fast food chicken spots, saying the franchises operate independently, Mississippi Today reported.
“The restaurants investigated by the DOL are owned and operated by a franchisee, not Wingstop Restaurants Inc. Our franchise agreement requires all of our franchisees to operate under our operating standards, which requires compliance with all laws and regulations. We were not previously aware of the DOL action against Boss Wings LLC,” a representative of the company said in a statement.
It is also unclear if Roberts or Ross’ mother had any knowledge of the violations.
Ross and Roberts have been working together for a very long time. In 2014, the mother of two said in an interview with Black Enterprise that she and her brother entered into a development agreement for 25 shops to open. At that time, they had at least nine restaurants open.
One of her responsibilities within his organization is to “oversee and manage the day-to-day operations of the Wing Stop deal.”
But according to the State of Florida’s Division of Corporations, she is also the registered agent for Rick Ross Touring, WLR Automobile Leasing, Port of Miami, Maybach Music Publishing, Rich Forever, Rick Ross Charities, WLR Brand Sovereign Holdings, Boss Burgers, Fly Trap, Biggest Boss Trucking and more.
In addition to the 25 WingStops, and all the aforementioned businesses Roberts is responsible for, Ross (whose net worth is estimated at approximately $40 million) has almost two dozen partnerships and business ventures, crossing over several industries.
The “Hustlin” chart-topper also boasts a few Checkers and Rally’s restaurants, and partnerships with spirits brands Luc Belaire and Bumbu.
He took his well-groomed signature beard and capitalized on it by creating a men’s hair and beard grooming line.
Ross also joins a few other rappers such as Jay-Z, Lil Kim, and Will Smith, as an author of a New York Times bestselling book with his “The Perfect Day To Boss Up: A Hustler’s Guide To Building Your Empire.”