State Investigating after Autistic Applebee's Worker Goes Unpaid for Hundreds of Hours

Photo courtesy of Target 12 Investigators 
Photo courtesy of Target 12 Investigators 

A popular restaurant in Rhode Island is working to make things right with a man who has Autism after learning he worked for hundreds of hours, but never got paid.

Caleb Dyl was placed in a training program without pay at an Applebee’s in Middletown through the Pawtucket-based Resources for Human Development. According to the WPRI Target 12 Investigators, Dyl was being tested to see if he was a good fit for a job as a prep cook.

The training program was supposed to change in August 2014, when the young man was supposed to start receiving minimum wage. The restaurant said they weren’t aware of the situation until Target 12 called them.

“We have to make this right,” said Eleanor Clancy, who is regional director of operations for the Applebee’s chain.

Dyl’s father, Bob, said his son worked three days a week for about a year.

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

Target 12 told FOX 5 News that Applebee’s has agreed to pay 480 hours to Dyl, which is more than his parents’ estimate of what he worked.

Dyl’s parents have requested that no one express anger towards the restaurant. They simply wanted to solve a problem and not create “hatred,” according to Target 12.

"We do not appreciate or want to see people lashing out in anger towards Applebee's or RHD," Bob Dyl said. 

“RHD never contacted us,” Clancy said. “We obviously feel terrible.”

Clancy told Target 12 the first they heard of the issue was when Target 12 contacted them.

“It wasn’t about money for him, though,” Bob Dyl told Target 12. “He liked working there. So we went to RHD a number of times and expected the problem to be taken care of.”

The state is now investigating the case. Target 12's Walt Buteau said Dyl has now been paid. 

Following Dyl's story being made public, a bogus GoFundMe page was created to raise money for him. His parents were horrified and the false account has since been pulled down. 

More coverage from WPRI Target 12 Investigators 

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