Caleb Dyl, an autistic man and employee of Applebee's, worked 480 hours over a year's time without any compensation.
Dyl, from Portsmouth, worked at the Middletown restaurant three days a week for about a year, according to WPRI. However, it was recently discovered that he had never received a penny for his labor.
The regional director of operations for the Applebee's chain, Eleanor Clancy, said that the management staff at the restaurant was unaware of the situation until they received a phone call from Target 12 Investigators.
"We have to make this right," Clancy said, adding that a check would be mailed to Caleb as soon as possible.
#ICYMI Autistic worker goes unpaid for about a year at @Applebees. @wbuteau reports https://t.co/c4IH8XvoKS #wpri pic.twitter.com/GkJY2IG60H
— WPRI 12 (@wpri12) October 21, 2015
Caleb's father explained that Pawtucket-based Resources for Human Development placed Caleb in a training program at the restaurant to see if he would make a good prep cook.
According to the RHD website, "RHD Rhode Island is a day program that serves individuals with developmental disabilities. This creative, fun, intellectually stimulating, art-based day program provides family support services, community job development and supported employment services."
RHD receives funding from the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals. Linda Riley, a spokesperson for the state agency, said RHD should have contacted the state if Dyl was not receiving any funds for his work. She said there are no records showing that RHD ever contacted the state.
The job was initially a non-paying position, however, that was supposed to change in August 2014, and Dyl was supposed to start receiving minimum wage. His parents filled out the information for Caleb's earnings to be direct deposited, and they also filled out a W-4 form for tax purposes. However, the money never came. They were later told the papers had been misplaced, so they filled out a new set and told Caleb's RHD caseworker.
"We were told by RHD that Applebee's was going to hire him, and he was going to get paid," Bob Dyl, Caleb's father, explained. "One young man told me 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."
Although Caleb was still not receiving any compensation, his parents continued to let him work because he enjoyed the job so much.
"He was enjoying the job, so we really weren't focused on the income so much," Bob said. "But after that amount of time, you kind of wonder what's going on."
Applebees apologizes to autistic man Caleb Dyl who worked unpaid for A YEAR https://t.co/TG2wfcQPPW
— Follow @JodyField (@JodyField) October 23, 2015
Although Caleb's parents told the RHD caseworker multiple times, Clancy said the message was never passed on to the management at the Applebee's restaurant. Dyl stopped working over the summer but had still not been paid.
"RHD never contacted us," Clancy said. "The first we heard of this was when you [Target 12] called. But this is on us. We obviously feel terrible."
According to Clancy, Dyl never clocked into work, something that his caseworker was supposed to help him do. Based on their records, Clancy said they will be cutting Caleb a check for approximately 166 hours of work. However, his parents said he actually worked nearly 500 hours, so Applebee's has agreed to pay Caleb for 480 hours. According to WSBTV, state officials have said they are currently investigating why Caleb never received his pay.
Caleb's story has now gone viral and is highlighting a common problem with people who have been diagnosed with a developmental disability. What do you think about Dyl being deprived of his wages? Leave your comments below.
[Image via Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com]