Local Little Caesars employees find themselves without work and final paychecks

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- More Little Caesars restaurants shut down metro-wide. But employees say their last paychecks aren't much good right now.

FOX4 told you about a similar situation in December.

Little Ceasars corporate is in a  legal battle with the owner of the Kansas City metro's franchises, Alan Knox. He's accused of breach of contract for not paying the franchise fees.

That's why a judge ordered he shut down all nine of his locations in July. But the stores didn't close until the end of September.

"They all of the sudden said, 'Brian, don`t come into work,'" said Brian Messmer, a former co-manager at the Little Caesars in Kansas City, Kansas.

About 140 people like Messmer are now without jobs. The father of two is supposed to get paid for his last week next Wednesday but doesn't think that's going to happen.

"I've been told that they don`t have the money to pay me for my last check," Messmer said.

He said he gets paid in cash because his paychecks have bounced in the past. He feels the pinch.

"I've got kids of my own," Messmer said. "Like I said, the struggle is real. Pay people what they`re supposed to get paid."

Other Little Caesar employees from locations on both sides of the state line contacted FOX4 and say they've gotten payroll checks already, but haven't been able to cash them because there wasn't any money in the account.

How they collect it depends on whether they worked in Kansas or Missouri, according to wage and employment attorney Brendan Donelon.

"You can go to the Missouri Department of Labor," Donelon said. "They`ve got a division that will help people get their last paycheck that`s owed to them."

Or you can take the matter to small claims court. You can also write a letter to your Missouri employer asking for your pay. They have a week to get it to you.

Under the Kansas Wage Act, employees have to pay you by the end of your normal pay cycle. If you don't get your payment, you can take it to the Kansas Department of Labor.

"They`ll sign your case over to the Secretary of Labor. They`ll go and pursue the litigation on your behalf, and whatever they collect, they collect it in trust and then turn it over and pay it to you," Donelon said.

Donelon said if the checks are bad, then you can turn the matter over to the county prosecutor's office.

Some way somehow, employees just want to see their hard earned money.

"Pay people what you agreed to pay them on time," Messmer said. "It`s that simple."

Allen Robb, attorney for franchise owner Alan Knox, told FOX4 they're working with employees to get everything situated. He said the money was in the payroll account or else they would have never issued the checks.

He said some employees don't have bank accounts, which is why they had problems cashing the checks.

Workers who haven't received their pay can contact the federal Department of Labor's regional office at 913-551-5721 or file a complaint here.

For Kansas employers, you can file a claim here with the Kansas Department of Labor Employment Standards Unit or call 785-296-5000 ext. 1068. Once they receive a completed wage claim form, they will start an investigation. Contact the Missouri Department of Labor here.

Jill Proctor, corporate communications manager for Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc. told FOX4 in a statement:

"I received a note forwarded to me about our recent store closures and employees who haven’t received their paychecks. We’ve just been made aware of this unfortunate situation.  We terminated this person’s franchise agreement several months ago. We look forward to reopening new stores in the Kansas city market with a new franchise owner in the coming months. It's our hope that many of these employees will be re-hired as soon as the stores are re-opened."

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