UPDATED 10/23/15 9:05 a.m. ET: Response from Resources for Human Development included.
A man with autism worked for nearly a year at a Rhode Island Applebee's without receiving any pay, his family says.
Caleb Dyl was placed in the job by the state-funded non-profit organization Resources for Human Development, local news station WPRI reports. The 21-year-old initially worked at the restaurant in a non-paying training program, but his parents said they were told in Aug. 2014 that Applebee's was hiring Dyl as a part-time prep cook for minimum wage.
Dyl's parents filled out a W-4 for their son and signed him up for direct deposit, but they said that payment never arrived. After inquiring about the missing checks, they were told their documents had been misplaced, so they resubmitted the forms in Nov. 2014. Even so, Dyl's wages failed to materialize.
"He was enjoying the job, so we really weren’t focused on the income so much," Caleb's father, Bob Dyl, told WPRI. "But after that amount of time, you kind of wonder what’s going on."
Bob Dyl said the family told his son's caseworker at RHD about the problem several times, to no avail.
Eleanor Clancy, regional director of operations for Applebee’s, said that the restaurant chain was not aware of the problem with Dyl's wages, and had never been contacted about it. "The first we heard of this was when you [WPRI's Target 12] called," she told WPRI. "But this is on us. We obviously feel terrible."
Clancy told the station said that Applebee's is writing Dyl a check for 166 hours of work, an amount based on records kept by RHD. Dyl's parents say he worked about 350 hours while reporting to Applebee's three days a week over the course of a year, but Clancy says that Dyl did not clock in at the restaurant.
Representatives for Applebee's did not immediately respond to NTRSCTN's request for comment.
Kevin Roberts, communications manager for Resources for Human Development, sent an e-mail to NTRSCTN regarding the discrepancy in hours:
"Caleb’s experience with Applebee’s began as part of RHD’s School Services program, which helps participants attain supported employment internships that encourage vocational development, life skills enhancement and provide opportunities for social inclusion — and for which participants receive school credit. The discrepancy in hours worked is a discrepancy about the time Caleb was under school services programming and earning credits toward graduation. Caleb received the credit and graduated from the school services program.
"After that period, we entered discussions with Applebee’s about Caleb working as an paid employee. As we had difficulties with the restaurant getting the paperwork done properly, Caleb stopped working there until we could be assured the issue was rectified and he would get paid. RHD would never allow a client to work without pay for a year. The period in question is only a matter of weeks — during which we believed absolutely that Applebee’s would correct this issue and make good on Caleb’s back pay. And, of course, they certainly have."
In a phone interview with NTRSCTN, Roberts also said that the situation was in the process of being rectified. "We at no time felt like anything malicious was happening with Caleb," he said. "Paperwork just didn't get filed properly, some pieces got dropped. But at no time was this ever a situation where we viewed as we needed to notify state officials or kicking down doors. . . . If folks at as are saying we were too conciliatory and should have been more vehement, that is a valid concern."