Discrimination in the Military Defined

Military discrimination refers to the unfair treatment or unequal opportunities experienced by individuals within the military based on certain characteristics or attributes, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or other protected characteristics. Discrimination can manifest in various ways, which is why certain laws and regulations designed to promote equality and fairness. It’s important to consult with a qualified military discrimination attorney to help you protect your rights. 

Types of Military Discrimination

Discrimination takes many forms and those impacted by discrimination are protected by specific laws.  As a service member, you deserve to be treated with the utmost respect.  If you have experienced one or more of the following types of discrimination, our military discrimination attorneys can help. 

Racial or Ethnic Discrimination: This occurs when individuals are treated unfairly or denied opportunities in the military because of their race or ethnicity. Racial discrimination can include racial slurs, derogatory comments, or disparities in promotions and assignments. 

Gender Discrimination: Gender discrimination involves treating individuals differently based on their gender. Historically, women have faced gender discrimination in the military, such as restrictions on combat roles. Efforts have been made to reduce such discrimination and promote gender equality. 

Sexual Orientation Discrimination: Discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation, such as being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, is considered a form of military discrimination. The military taken steps to end such discrimination with policies like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the repeal of this policy to allow openly LGBTQ+ individuals to serve in the military. 

Religious Discrimination: Some military personnel may experience discrimination based on their religious beliefs. This can manifest as unequal treatment, harassment, or difficulties in practicing their faith while serving. 

Pregnancy Discrimination: Discrimination related to pregnancy is expressly prohibited and cannot be used to affect career progression. 

Discrimination within the military can be detrimental to the morale, cohesion, and effectiveness of military units. In response to these issues, anti-discrimination policies and training programs to promote a more inclusive and diverse military environment have been adopted in many countries. 

Equal Opportunity Investigations in the Military

Equal Opportunity (EO) investigations in the military are a crucial part of ensuring that all service members are treated fairly and without discrimination based on their race, color, sex, religion, pregnancy or other protected characteristics. These investigations are conducted to address and resolve complaints related to equal opportunity, discrimination, and harassment. 

Purpose: EO investigations promote a positive and inclusive military environment by addressing and resolving issues related to discrimination, harassment, and unequal treatment. 

Complaint Process: Service members who believe they have experienced discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment can file a formal complaint through the Equal Opportunity program. The complaint is typically submitted to the Equal Opportunity Advisor (EOA) or another designated official within the service member’s command. 

Investigation Process: Once a complaint is filed, an investigation is initiated to gather relevant information and evidence. The investigation may involve interviews with the complainant, witnesses, and the alleged offender, and a review of any available documents or records. 

Military leaders are held accountable for creating and maintaining a climate of equal opportunity within their units, and they are expected to address any issues promptly and effectively.

Military Discrimination Attorneys You Can Trust

Our internationally recognized team of military law attorneys are well-versed in military discrimination casesWe are dedicated to staying up to date on anti-discrimination laws protecting service membersAs former active and retired military personnel we will fight diligently to ensure your rights are protected and that you obtain a favorable outcomeContact us today to schedule a consultation.   

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Frequently Asked Questions

It is suggested you seek an attorney the moment you are notified of possible disciplinary action. There is a wide range of disciplinary action a service member might face, and the consequences of those actions vary greatly. A military law attorney can discuss the possible consequences, and how best to proceed in your particular case.  

Service members have the right to always remain silent. This right is listed in Article 31(b) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The natural inclination is to explain why you are not guilty of the allegation. However, the military will always try to use the statement against the service member. For this reason, we always advise clients to exercise their right to remain silent under Article 31(b). The military cannot use your right to remain silent against you.  

You always have the right to consult with an attorney. Depending of the type of investigation or disciplinary action, you may also have the right to have an attorney present with you. It is best to discuss your particular situation with a military law attorney to understand if that right applies to you. 

Yes, each one of the branches has a Court of Criminal Appeals. If you receive either a punitive discharge or in excess of 1 year of confinement, you have the right to an automatic appeal. Just like at the Court-Martial, you will have be detailed a military appellate defense counsel.  

Yes, most service members will be entitled to either an administrative separation board (or, if an officer, a Board of Inquiry). Each branch requires the service member to have been in a certain number of years before they can request to appear before a Board. If you are entitled to a Board, you will have the right to appear with a defense counsel, and present a defense before three Board members. 

 It depends on what the legal issue, and how you are able to challenge the legal issue. The military law attorneys at FPG have represented service members at trial that resulted in a not-guilty verdict. These clients were able to continue their military career as though the Court-Martial never happened.

The military lawyers at FPG are former Judge Advocates, with years of experience in both the military and on the civilian side. They have been successful in getting their clients acquitted of criminal charges at Court-Martial, and have successfully had Court-Martial convictions overturned on appeal and discharges upgraded.  

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