Autistic Applebee's Worker Allegedly Goes Unpaid For A Year, Parents Say (Video)

| by Karin Sun

An autistic Rhode Island man was reportedly not paid after working for a year at an Applebee's restaurant (video below).

Caleb Dyl, 21, was first hired at the Middletown, Rhode Island, restaurant sometime in 2014 as part of an unpaid training program, WPRI 12 Eyewitness News reports. He was supposed to start receiving wages for his part-time job as a prep cook in August 2014.

Caleb's father, Bob Dyl, said he and his wife signed Caleb up for direct deposit and also filled out a W-4 form, but he never received any checks. After asking about the situation, they were reportedly told the documents were misplaced.

The Dyls then filled out another set of paperwork in November 2014, but their son remained unpaid. 

“He was enjoying the job, so we really weren’t focused on the income so much,” Bob told WPRI. “But after that amount of time, you kind of wonder what’s going on.”

Caleb was placed at the Applebee's job through Resources for Human Development, a state-funded agency that helps workers with developmental disabilities find employment. The Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based agency reportedly receives funding from the state's Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals.

Although the Dyls said they contacted RHD several times about their son not getting paid after months of work, the agency reportedly failed to notify Applebee's management of the issue.

The restaurant's managers said they were unaware that Caleb had not been receiving paychecks until a phone call from WPRI's Target 12 investigators alerted them to the situation.

“RHD never contacted us,” Eleanor Clancy, regional director of operations for the Applebee's chain, said. “The first we heard of this was when you [Target 12] called. But this is on us. We obviously feel terrible.”

She added that a check will be mailed to Caleb as soon as possible.

"We have to make this right," she said.

Caleb, who worked at the restaurant three days a week for about a year, will reportedly receive payment for 166 hours of work. Since the young man didn't clock into work every day, Applebee's calculated the number of hours that he worked based on RHD records.

Caleb stopped working at the restaurant in July 2015.

The Dyls said their son worked much more than 166 hours and should be receiving more wages.

Caleb's parents said it was difficult to determine the exact number of hours their son worked at Applebee's, since he took two months off work due to state budget issues and a period of time in which he transitioned from being considered a juvenile to an adult.

They estimated the total time he spent working at the restaurant at about 350 hours.

A job coach that RHD sent to the restaurant with Caleb described him as a "tireless worker."

"One young man told me that they were lucky to have him, that Caleb just continues to work and work and he won't stop until the end of his shift," Bob said.

The family has not said whether they will try to get compensation for the hours that the restaurant has allegedly not paid for yet.

Wage theft costs workers in low-wage industries about $50 billion a year, according to survey results published by the Economic Policy Institute in 2014.

Sources: WPRI 12 Eyewitness News, EPI / Photo credit: Mike Mozart via Wikimedia Commons