Autistic Prep-Cook To Get 480 Hours Worth Of Back Pay From Applebee's

An autistic Rhode Island man worked three days a week for an entire year and never saw one dime, Applebee's is now trying to rectify the situation by offering him back pay.

UPDATE: Applebee's offered to pay an autistic employee, Caleb Dyl, for 166 hours of work after the story went viral that he worked at the Middletown, Rhode Island restaurant for nearly a year without getting paid. 

After receiving nationwide backlash for taking advantage of Dyl, violating his constitutional rights and just being downright negligent, Applebee's officials have announced that the restaurant will pay him for 480 hours, which is the amount Dyl's parents say he actually worked during his year of employment, according to WPRI-TV.


An Applebee’s in Middletown, Rhode Island hired an autistic man as a prep-cook last summer — sounds like a great step toward better embracing the special needs community — except, the restaurant didn’t pay him for a whole year.

Caleb Dyl, 21, was hired through Rhode Island’s Resources for Human Development program and was deemed a good fit for prep-cook after completing an unpaid training period.

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After the training, Dyl was supposed to start getting paid. His parents filled out a W-4 tax form and direct deposit slip for him but throughout the year that he reported to work three days a week he was never told to clock in, local news station Target 12 reports.

When Dyl’s parents initially noticed their son wasn’t getting paid and confronted the managers, they were told his documents had been misplaced so they filled out another set of forms. Still, their son never saw a dime.

Applebee’s is aware they screwed up; in fact they’ve apologized and insisted that it was all an accident and the company had no idea this was going on.

To rectify their egregious error, they’ve offered Dyl back-pay for 166 hours of work, but according to his parents he actually worked close to 400 hours in the year that he was employed there. So, the company is trying to pay him less than half of what he’s owed.

Needless to say, that's not cool.

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The restaurant biz is hectic, especially for a major chain like Applebee’s, so we can understand if the managers weren’t able to keep tabs on Dyl’s time reporting on a regular basis and maybe we can understand if he missed a few clock-ins here and there, anyone who has worked in the restaurant industry can attest to how easy it is to forget.

But, those kinds of mistakes don’t happen every day for a whole entire year!

What about evaluations or check-in periods? Check-ins should have been happening fairly regularly with Dyl considering his disorder.

At no point in time did the managers think to offer special attention to a person with special needs?

Dyl should have been showed how to clock in and out the very first day he was officially employed and it should have been explicitly explained to him that doing so was a daily requirement.

What about his coworkers? When I worked in the restaurant industry, my coworkers and I always reminded each other to clock in because we knew how easy it was to jump right into work when you see a crowd and forget to report your time.

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There’s no excuse why not a single person in the entire restaurant took the time to show Dyl how to clock his hours so he could get paid.

A year is way too much time for such an “error” to fly under the radar.

This particular Applebee’s took advantage of this kid, that’s the bottom line.

“We have to make this right,” said Eleanor Clancy, regional director of operations for the Applebee’s chain. Yeah, you sure do! Or else you might end up with a serious lawsuit on your hands that you would undoubtedly lose.  

Banner Photo Credit: Flickr user Mike Mozart 

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