Hazing, or the act of subjecting someone to abusive or embarrassing practices as a condition of membership in a group, is often a subject of discussion among military and non-military individuals alike. While some believe it is an effective way to create a sense of camaraderie among troops, others see it as an unlawful form of abuse and humiliation.
In this article, the Norfolk military lawyers at The Griffin Law Firm will examine the current regulations in place for hazing in the military. We’ll also let you know the potential consequences for those found to be involved in hazing.
What Constitutes Hazing in the Military?
Hazing can take many forms, ranging from mild to severe. Some common examples of hazing in the military include:
- Physical hazing, such as forcing someone to do push-ups or carrying heavy equipment as punishment.
- Mental hazing, such as forcing someone to perform demeaning tasks or endure verbal abuse.
- Sexual hazing, such as forcing someone to engage in sexual activities or view sexual materials.
It is important to note that hazing can occur in any branch of the military and can affect both new recruits and service members that are getting promoted.
Regulations on Hazing in the Military
While hazing is not explicitly prohibited by law as hazing, it is prohibited under service policy and can result in serious legal consequences for those involved. Violation of this policy can be charged as a violation of Article 92, UCMJ (failure to follow a lawful general order). Depending on the act, conduct could also be charged as harassment or cruelty and maltreatment.
Each military branch has its policies and regulations regarding hazing. For example, the Army has a zero-tolerance policy on hazing, as it prohibits any conduct that is abusive, oppressive, or harmful to morale. The Navy also has a zero-tolerance policy on hazing and prohibits any conduct that is intended to demean, degrade, or abuse someone. The same applies to the other branches of the US military. Defining hazing can be subjective, and commanders are empowered to make the determination of what is and is not hazing.
Consequences of Hazing in the Military
Those found to be involved in hazing can face severe consequences, including administrative penalties or criminal charges. Depending on the severity of the hazing, those found guilty may be subject to disciplinary action, including demotion, reduction in pay, or separation from the military.
Speak to an Experienced Military Defense Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been accused of hazing in the military, it is essential to speak out and seek help. Our military law firm has experience defending service members against charges related to hazing and can help you understand your rights and options.
The harassment and hazing policies can serve as sword and shield for servicemembers. You should also consult an attorney to discuss options if you believe that you are a victim of hazing, harassment, or bullying. If your command is aware and won’t help, it could be time to elevate your treatment to higher levels of the organization. Doing this can be risky from a career standpoint. An attorney can help you frame your complaint in a way that helps you get relief while preserving your professional reputation.
Contact the experienced Virginia military law attorneys at The Griffin Law Firm to discuss your case and learn more about how we can assist you in building a solid defense. We are here to help you protect your rights and your future.