MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Mississippi Wingstop franchise operator has been fined after an investigation by the Department of Labor determined they violated labor laws by charging employees for uniforms, safety training, background checks, cash register shortages and violating child labor regulations.
Boss Wings Enterprises was under investigation by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division after several violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act were discovered.
The Department of Labor said there were minimum wage violations when paychecks were deducted for uniform cost and cash register shortages which resulted in hourly employee rates dropping below the $7.25 federal minimum wage.
These violations also included overtime violations when the employer deducted the cost of background checks and safety training. According to the DoL, the employer illegally reduced the rate-of-pay in weeks when workers earned overtime which led Boss Wings to pay overtime wages that were lower than federal law requires.
The Department of Labor noted recordkeeping violations for failing to maintain accurate records of employee hours and wage deductions.
“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 said. “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.”
As a result of this investigation, the DoL recovered $51,674 in back wages for workers and liquidated damages for 244 employees. The Department of Labor also assessed civil penalties of $62,753.
In addition to wage violations, the Department of Labor found Boss Wings allowed a 15-year-old to work past 10 pm on several occasions in June 2021, a violation of FLSA child labor standards. Federal laws prohbit 14 and 15-year-olds from working before 7 am and after 7 pm from June 1 to Labor Day.
“Employers who do not respect their workers’ rights will likely struggle to retain and recruit the people they need to remain competitive, as workers look for opportunities with employers that do,” Hall added.
The investigation included the following Wing Stop locations operated by Boss Wings Enterprises LLC:
- Boss Wings XXX LLC, operating as Wing Stop #1590 in Clarksdale
- Boss Wings XXV LLC, operating as Wing Stop #753 in Tupelo
- Boss Wings XXVI LLC, operating as Wing Stop #777 in Starkville
- Boss Wings XII LLC, operating as Wing Stop in Olive Branch
- Boss Wings XXVII LLC, operating as Wing Stop #832 in Oxford
Some area locations of Wingstop are connected to well-known rapper Rick Ross, a native of Clarksdale. It’s not known whether these locations are linked to Ross. WREG was not able to reach management.