Autistic restaurant worker goes unpaid for about a year

He was documented as a “tireless worker”

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — An autistic Portsmouth man reported to work at a Middletown restaurant three-days a week for about a year, but the Target 12 Investigators have learned he was never paid.

Eleanor Clancy, regional director of operations for the Applebee’s chain, said management from the Middletown restaurant was not aware of the problem until a phone call from Target 12. Clancy added that a check will be mailed to Caleb Dyl as soon as possible.

“We have to make this right,” Clancy said.

According to Dyl’s father, Pawtucket based Resources for Human Development, which receives state funding, placed the 21 year old in a training program at the restaurant without pay to see if he was a fit for a job as a prep-cook. But that was supposed to change in August of 2014 when he was slated to receive minimum wage for a part-time job.

“We were told by RHD that Applebee’s was going to hire him, and he was going to get paid,” Bob Dyl recalled.

The agency sent a work coach with Caleb and documented that

“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,” his father added.

Dyl’s parents said they signed him up for direct deposit and filled out a W-4 for Caleb, but the checks never came. The Dyls said after initial inquiries, they were told the documents were misplaced, so they filled out another set by November of 2014. Dyl also said he asked Caleb’s case worker at RHD about the issue several times, but after months of his son working four-hour shifts about three days a week – still no check.

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

While Dyl said he told RHD about the problem several times, Clancy said the message was never passed onto Applebee’s.

“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. We have to make this right.”

RHD receives funding from the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals. Linda Riley, a spokesperson for the state agency, said if Dyl was not getting paid, RHD should’ve contacted the state. But she added there are no records that anyone from RHD did that.

Target 12 reached out to RHD several times over the last few weeks, but we were told confidentiality regulations restrict any comment about the case.

Applebee’s says the restaurant is cutting Dyl a check for 166 hours of work. The Dyls are now trying to figure out whether or not that covers the amount of time their son worked at the restaurant.

Copyright 2015 WPRI

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