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Eric Pogue, the long-time men’s soccer coach at Oakland University has had a lot of success, but has been fired.

He claims he was sacked for being depressed and wanting to talk about it – now he’s suing OU.

The coach’s mother passed away in December 2021, which he took hard.

“He suffered a state of depression,” said his attorney Shereef Akeel. “She was his rock and he was her caregiver. And he needed some time to adjust to this.”

It took months to adjust but his attorney said it did not affect his ability to coach both on and off the field.

“After he won coach of the year, and after he took his team to the playoffs, they gave him his walking papers,” Akeel said.

His attorney argues the law allows for an employee to be depressed if he can still do his job. And when he was fired – he sued – making a mental disability discrimination claim.

“You can have a disability, but as long as you can perform the essential functions of your job, you’re good,” Akeel said.

But in a statement to Fox 2, Oakland University, said they categorically deny all allegations by the coach, and in fact, said there was:

“A persistent unwillingness by Coach Pogue to provide hands-on mentorship and training that OU student-athletes expect and deserve….. OU concluded that Coach Pogue lacked the ability to lead the program and a change had to be made.”

Akeel says that is just one part of the story.

“There’s another part is that there’s a stigma going on,” he said.

The stigma is that the coach wanted to talk about men in sports getting treatment for mental health.  According to his attorney, Oakland University said to not talk about it.

“They did not want him to talk about it,” Akeel said. “They said it’s a HIPAA violation. He said how can it be HIPAA, I’m the one that’s giving the authority to talk about it.”

Kevin Giles runs the mobile outreach clinic at the Detroit Wayne integrated health network – and doesn’t think the coach’s mental health should have been a factor in his firing.

“A lot of people look at mental health in a negative light,” he said. “WWith the right treatment and the right support behind him he should be able to flourish in any career he chooses.”

No court date has been set yet.

Do you think you may suffer from Depression and live in Florida, California or New York?

If so, please consider scheduling a proper virtual online ADHD and Depression diagnosis with one of our physicians. Although we have an online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis tool, a proper diagnosis from a Board-Certified Medical Doctor will help you know for sure. If appropriate, a customized treatment program will be recommended at the conclusion of that initial visit.

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