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Applebee's Fails To Pay Employee With Autism For Nearly A Year

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 23/10/2015 Hilary Hanson

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The Applebee’s restaurant chain has issued an apology for failing to pay a kitchen employee for almost a year.

Caleb Dyl, 21, who has autism, found a job as a part-time prep cook at an Applebee’s restaurant in Middletown, Rhode Island, through Resources for Human Development - Rhode Island, a nonprofit for people with developmental disabilities, local news station WPRI reported. He started the minimum-wage position in August 2014 after going through an unpaid training period for about a year, his parents said.

But Dyl never got a paycheck. He worked at the restaurant 12 hours a week through March 2015, then took time off and resumed working in June and July.

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

His parents brought up the pay issue multiple times with Resources for Human Development, whose representatives told them there was a paperwork problem and they should be patient, his mother, Vicki Dyl, told Patch. Caleb Dyl lives with his parents, who filled out employee paperwork when he started the job, Bob Dyl told ABC News.

“When we didn’t see anything at the end of July, we said that’s it, that’s enough,” Vicki Dyl told Patch.

She said her son loved his job, so she and her husband were reluctant to stop him from working. 

“He was happy and productive and wasn’t sitting in the house watching cartoons,”she explained. “He loved it and loved being productive.”

The parents said it wasn't about the money, but about making sure this kind of situation doesn’t happen to other people with disabilities.

An Applebee’s spokesman told ABC the restaurant chain has sent Caleb Dyl a check for his first seven weeks of work and is looking into the remainder of his employment history. Eleanor Clancy, Applebee’s regional director of operations, told WPRI that Dyl did not clock in when he went to work and managers didn't realize he wasn’t being paid until the news station alerted them.

Applebee’s also has sent the family an apology letter, the spokesman said.

The parents said they’re happy with the chain’s response. Vicki Dyl told Patch she hopes her son can return to his job once everything is straightened out.

She also said Resources for Human Development does “great work” with her son.

Resources for Human Development did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post. Representatives told WPRI they were unable to talk about the case due to confidentiality rules.

Contact the author at Hilary.Hanson@huffingtonpost.com

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