In decidedly non-big boss behavior, it appears Rick Ross may have violated some important workplace violations at five of his Mississippi Wingstop restaurant locations: namely, child labor laws. The rapper’s business entity Boss Wings Enterprises LLC has been ordered to pay over $100,000 in fines by the U.S. Department of Labor over the legal breaches.
An investigation from the department reportedly found that the company illegally mandated workers to pay for their uniforms and any cash register shortages, a practice that effectively dipped their minimum wage before the federal bottommost limit of $7.25. In addition, the investigation alleges that a 15-year-old employee was allowed to work past 10:00 pm on multiple occasions, violating FLSA child labor work hour standards. When all was said and done, Boss Wings was fined a total of $51,674 in back wages and liquidated damages for 244 workers, with another $62,753 in civil money penalties.
“Restaurant industry employees work hard, often for low wages, and many depend on every dollar earned to make ends meet,” Wage and Hour Division District Director Audrey Hall shares 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.”
A spokesperson for Wingstop’s corporate publications department assures in a statement that the offending locations were all controlled by a “franchisee” (Boss Wings) and that they were unaware of any violations. Ross isn’t the sole proprietor of his Wingstop locations or Boss Wings Enterprises LLC; the rapper runs the company alongside older sister Tawanda Roberts and mother Tommie Roberts.
Ross himself appeared to respond to the allegations via a video on his Instagram (although he never outright mentions Wingstop.) Sitting behind a grand piano in a Balmain sweater, Ross waxes poetic about how his “mistake” (child labor, presumably?) is really a “stepping stone.”
“When you’re running a business, there will be mistakes but as the biggest boss, you never make the same mistake twice,” he says. “Taking accountability is big when you’re the biggest. And remember this: Most successful people don’t take stumbling as a setback, but actually a stepping stone to greater things.” We’ll give Ross the benefit of the doubt and assume the “greater things” he has in mind are higher salaries for chicken-slinging teens.