Today, I want to talk about five different reasons to relieve a subordinate in the Army. You don’t hear about too many cases of people being “officially” relieved from duty. It does happen from time to time (formally), but normally people just get switched from one job to another job, and then they get a sub-par evaluation report. Normally, people won’t get relieved from duty “officially” unless they mess up terribly.
For the purpose of this article I want to share some “situations” that might cause someone to get relieved from duty. I also want to share some tips with you so you don’t get yourself in trouble. I spent a couple hours “searching through the regulations” online and really couldn’t find any specific examples that “require” someone to be relieved of their duties. Maybe I missed something so, if you are an expert, please share a resource I can reference to find this information.
I’m going to step out on a limb here. As a quick disclaimer: I would recommend that you sit down with your JAG Officer and supervisor to “educate” yourself before you ever relieve someone officially. The last thing you want to do is get yourself in trouble because you didn’t do it the right way. That being said, here are five reasons to relieve someone of their official duties.
# 1 Fraud/Theft – If a subordinate blatantly steals property or money from the government and you have proof, this could be ground for a relief for cause.
# 2 Falsifying Paperwork – If a subordinate falsifies a document and you can prove it, that would be a reason to relieve them from duty. This might include an OER, an inventory, pay, travel voucher, or inspection results.
# 3 Improper Relationships – If one of your officers or NCOs is having improper relationships with a subordinate, that could be grounds to relieve them.
# 4 EO/Sexual Harassment – If one of your subordinates has EO or Sexual Harassment complaints, that could be grounds to relieve them.
# 5 Workplace Violence – If one of your subordinates is being violent at work and creating a hostile environment for one of their subordinates, that could be a reason to relieve them.
Tips for Success
Before you ever officially “relieve” someone from their duty position, make sure you dot your i’s and cross your t’s. What I mean by that is that you should consult with JAG and your supervisor beforehand. Get their input. In addition, make sure you reference the pertinent regulations to make sure you have your information correct.
Another great piece of advice is to wait until you have “cooled down” before you make a decision. In other words, don’t make a hasty decision while you are angry or upset. It’s easy to make the wrong decision when you are emotional or angry. If possible, sleep on it or at least step back from the situation and think about it for a few hours. This will give you clarity.
Also, please understand that the accused Soldier has rights too. In many cases, you will need to do a formal 15-6 Investigation or at a minimum, a Commander’s Inquiry to collect all the facts, before you make a decision. I cannot stress this enough: talk to JAG before you do officially relieve someone. The last thing you want to do is get yourself in trouble.
However, once you have the proper advice, sit down with the Soldier face-to-face, do the counseling, and relieve them of their duties. Have a witness with you and put everything in writing. The sooner the better.
On a side note, if you have expertise in this subject, I would love to hear from you. Please share any tips or advice you have about “officially” relieving someone from their military duties. On the other hand, if you have been relieved or have relieved someone, I would love to hear your story. Just leave a comment below to share your story with the rest of our community. Thanks for visiting.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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