By Rishi Iyengar
October 23, 2015

An autistic man who worked at a restaurant in Rhode Island until around two months ago was not paid his wages for nearly a year, an investigation by a local news channel revealed on Thursday.

Caleb Dyl, 21, started a job as a prep cook at an Applebee’s franchise in Middletown, R.I., in August 2014 and worked three days a week until July this year, but is yet to receive a single paycheck, local news channel WPRI reported.

He was offered the job after being placed in an unpaid training program by local NGO Resources for Human Development (RHD), but was supposed to start earning minimum wage — $9 an hour — after getting hired on a part-time basis.

“We were told by RHD that Applebee’s was going to hire him, and he was going to get paid,” his father Bob Dyl told WPRI, adding that the family set up a direct deposit and filled out W-4 tax forms but didn’t receive any money.

The organization, which sent a work coach to supervise and aid Caleb Dyl with procedures like logging work hours, told the family in November last year that the documents had been misplaced. Despite filing it again, no money has been forthcoming.

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

The Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, the government entity that oversees RHD’s funding, said the agency should have informed the state if Dyl was not getting paid. However, there is no official indication that any RHD representative did so.

Senior management from Applebee’s claim they were never informed about Dyl’s lack of compensation by RHD, and only found out about the transgression when contacted by WPRI reporters for their story.

“But this is on us. We feel terrible,” said Eleanor Clancy, the restaurant chain’s regional director, adding that they will send Dyl a check for the equivalent of 166 hours worked — based on records kept by the work coaches, since he never clocked in and out of the job.

“We have to make this right,” Clancy told WPRI.

Dyl’s family, however, estimates that he worked closer to 350 hours over the one-year period.

[WPRI]

Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com.

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