Enlisted servicemembers who have been discharged through a separation hearing can feel powerless. What can you do to appeal or reverse the board’s decision, especially if you know there is adequate evidence regarding one of the reasons for separation?
You are not without options. Discuss your rights and options regarding separation hearings with a knowledgeable military justice attorney.
Requirements before discharge
First, it is important to understand a little bit about separation hearings. While there are numerous grounds for separation for an enlisted offer, there are also certain requirements that your superiors must follow before discharge.
According to the Department of Defense Instruction for Enlisted Administrative Separations, section 3d:
[It is DoD policy that]:
DoD will provide enlisted Service members with the training, motivation, and professional leadership to enable them to meet required standards of performance, conduct, and discipline.
(1) Reasonable efforts should be made by the chain of command to identify enlisted Service members who exhibit the likelihood for early separation and improve their chances for retention through counseling, retraining, and rehabilitation.
(2) Enlisted Service members who do not demonstrate the commitment or potential for further service should be separated.
There are two parts here: The part that authorizes the separation of Enlisted Service members and the requirement that reasonable efforts be made to help a struggling Service member improve behavior and prove himself or herself more adequate to retain the position.
In many separation cases, there is a failure to provide training, rehabilitation or counseling to help the person being separated. In some cases, the problem is a simple lack of training in the first place. Putting someone in a complicated or challenging position without teaching that person how to do the job is a recipe for failure.
What can you do?
If you have been discharged through a separation hearing, and you believe there has not been adequate training, counseling or rehabilitation opportunities, you should talk with a military justice lawyer as soon as possible. Fight back to protect your future.