Parting Shots: DD Form 214 and Disability Discrimination

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Department of Defense (DoD) Separation documents governs the service members’ return to civilian life. Most notably, DD Form 214. This official record has been referred to as the service members “Passport to Civilian Life” Sims v. Fox 492 F.2d 1088 (5th Cir. 1974) at 1091. Indeed the DD Form 214 has obtained this name because separated service members and employers use it as a universal job reference. The exact form and format of the separation documents are not defined by statute. Rather, that detail is left to DoD Instruction Number 1336.01 (Exhibit 3)

The nature and manner by which a service member is discharged has life-long and far-reaching effects. Consider Kauffman v. Secretary of the Air Force, 415 F.2d 991 (D.C. Cir. 1969) at 995.

First, the deprivation of liberty under an invalid conviction is a grievous injury, but a military discharge under other than honorable conditions imposes a lifelong disability of greater consequence for persons unlawfully convicted by courts martial.

This imposition of a life-long disability is not limited to an other-than-honorable discharge. But it also extends to “Honorable” discharges that the Department of Defense sees fit to ‘colorize’ with additional and segregating information. These ‘colorized’ separations have the effect to prompting post separation discrimination.

Further still are the various administrative discharge processes that result in veterans, who having committed no crime under military law, are punished with a life-long stigma. In its current form, the most damaging of these discharges are the much-maligned “Personality Disorder Discharges”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Eric Hughes, Student: Brown Mackie College - Cincinnati | Attorney Advertising

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Student: Brown Mackie College - Cincinnati on:

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