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R.I. Applebee’s cook with autism worked without pay for year

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Thursday, October 22, 2015, 7:16 AM

Bob Dyl (left) said his autistic son, Caleb (right), worked at Applebee’s for a year but never got paid.WPRI

Bob Dyl (left) said his autistic son, Caleb (right), worked at Applebee’s for a year but never got paid.

A Rhode Island man with autism tirelessly worked in an Applebee’s kitchen for a year — but never got a single paycheck.

Caleb Dyl, 21, was never paid for his part-time job at the Middletown restaurant between August 2014 and July 2015, his father said.

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

The 21-year-old got the job though Resources for Human Development, a government-funded nonprofit that helps people with disabilities find work. Caleb Dyl first worked in an unpaid RHD training program — but he was supposed to start getting checks after Applebee’s hired him as a prep cook in August 2014.

RHD work coaches accompanied Caleb Dyl to the kitchen, documenting his time on the job and evaluating his work.

“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,” Bob Dyl said.

The Dyls set up direct deposit for their son, but the money never showed up in the account. When they asked about the missing checks, RHD said Caleb Dyl’s W-4 and other work forms had been misplaced. The family filled out a second set in November.

The checks still never came, despite the family’s constant complaints to RHD, they said. Caleb stopped working at the restaurant in July.

Applebee’s said it was not aware of the problem until local media contacted the chain this month.

Applebee’s said it was not aware of the problem until local media contacted the chain this month.WPRI

Applebee’s said it was not aware of the problem until local media contacted the chain this month.

Eleanor Clancy, regional director of operations for Applebee’s, said the restaurant has mailed Caleb Dyl a check for his year of work.

“We obviously feel terrible,” she said. “We have to make this right.”

RHD — which gets funding from the state’s Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals — should have contacted the state about the issue, said department spokeswoman Linda Riley. The nonprofit had failed to do so, she said.

Now, Applebee’s is paying Caleb Dyl for the 166 hours of work RHD documented. The Dyls estimated their son — who did not clock in and out of work and only kept hours through his work coach — worked about 350 hours.

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mwagner@nydailynews.com

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