Former Sacred Heart Employee Alleges Discrimination After Dementia Diagnosis

Oct 19, 2016

An athletic facilities director at Sacred Heart University is alleging that he was unfairly fired after he told the school -- in the interest of full disclosure -- that he’d been diagnosed with dementia. 

Gary Reho filed suit in U.S. District Court earlier this month, charging that the Fairfield-based school is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

When there’s a diagnosis of dementia, how long should someone continue to hold onto a job? It’s a tough question, and the answer may differ for each person, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Considerations include: the degree of impairment, the demands of the job, tolerance of the employer and acceptance by co-workers.

Reho was first hired by Sacred Heart in 1990 as a football coach. Six years later, he became associate director of athletics, and a year after that was appointed Director of the William Pitt Health and Recreation Center and Athletic Facilities.

According to the complaint, just after his diagnosis his doctor wrote, “Mr. Reho’s cognitive functioning and emotional well-being will be improved by returning to work.”

Reho passed along to Sacred Heart, his doctor’s recommendations for modifications to his job duties.

But the suit alleges that despite phone calls and letters between his doctor and university authorities, Reho was terminated from his position in 2015.

In a statement to WNPR, Sacred Heart authorities write:  "We are confident that when the facts come out during the discovery process that Mr. Reho's claims will be deemed unfounded.  Because of the ongoing litigation, we cannot provide any additional information at this time".