It recently came to light that several locations of Wingstop franchises owned by hip-hop mogul Rick Ross have been fined for labor violations. Ross’ company has been ordered to pay $114,427 in fines and back pay for labor violations at five locations in Mississippi.
On Aug. 16, five days after the fine was issued, Ross took to his Instagram Story to address the situation and vow to do better.
“When you’re running a business, there will be mistakes, but as the biggest boss, you never make the same mistake twice,” said Ross, who was wearing a Balmain sweater and diamond necklace. “Taking accountability is big when you’re the biggest.”
Then he put an optimistic spin on the business misstep. “Remember this, most successful people don’t take stumbling as a setback but as steppingstones to greater things,” he added.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced that Boss Wings Enterprises, the umbrella company for his Wingstop franchises in Southaven, Mississippi, illegally made workers pay for their uniforms, safety training, background checks, as well as shortages at the cash register. When all this was taken out of their paychecks, some employees took home less than the $7.25 hourly federal minimum wage.
In another violation, Boss Wings allowed a 15-year-old employee work past 10 p.m. multiple times last year. This is a violation of child labor work laws.
Ross’s company had to dish out $51,674 in back wages and damages for 244 workers, and $62,753 in civil money penalties, the DOL announced.
“Restaurant industry employees work hard, often for low wages, and many depend on every dollar earned to make ends meet,” Audrey Hall, the DOL’s wage and hour division district director 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, who released his latest album, “Richer Than I Ever Been,” in December 2021, owns nearly 30 Wingstop franchises across the U.S.
It’s Him, Not Us
The company’s corporate office shared a statement that seemed to distance itself from Ross and his company.
The statement read: “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.”