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Wing Stop franchisee illegally deducts uniform, training, background check costs; US Labor Department recovers $51K for 244 workers

SOUTHAVEN, MS – 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.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigation into the pay practices of Boss Wings Enterprises LLC in Southaven discovered several violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, including the following:

Minimum wage violations when paycheck deductions for uniforms and cash register shortages caused some employees’ average hourly rates to fall below the $7.25 federal minimum wage.
Overtime violations when the employer’s deductions for safety training and background checks illegally decreased the rate-of-pay in weeks when workers earned overtime, and led Boss Wings to pay overtime at rates lower than federal law requires.
Recordkeeping violations for failing to maintain a record of employee hours worked and wage deductions.

The investigation led to the recovery of $51,674 in back wages and liquidated damages for 244 workers, and an assessment of $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,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Audrey Hall in Jackson, Mississippi. “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.”

In addition to the wage violations, division investigators 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 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.

In fiscal year 2021, the Wage and Hour Division recovered more than $34.7 million for more than 29,000 workers in the food service industry. In 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports near record numbers of job openings and workers in the accommodations and food services industry quitting their jobs. 

“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.

Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.

For information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android Timesheet App for free.