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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 118783
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I was recently medically disqualified from my job in the

Customer Question

Hi, I was recently medically disqualified from my job in the US Navy. I have only completed 2 of the 6 years of my enlistment. I don't want to stay in the navy and I don't want another job. I requested to separate via my Chain of command and they informed me that it was denied. I have not seen nor have I received any paperwork on this matter so I am skeptical. I was told that I need to sign a document to be converted to another job. I refused and informed them that I would seek legal advice before signing anything. I have been threatened that I will be converted anyways and given orders. I understand that I signed a contract for 6 years but I unfortunately cannot perform that job that I signed up for so I would like to separate. What can I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only. If you cannot perform any job, then legally you would be entitled to a medical discharge. If you only cannot qualify for the ob you signed up for through no fault of your own, then you get to either select another job or can select discharge. However, if the reason you cannot qualify is your own cause, legally the Navy can decide what to do including allow you to pick another assignment or forcibly assign you to another assignment.As the medical condition is not a fault of your own, you would argue that you are entitled to discharge as they are breaching your contract. It would then be up to the command to determine whether or not this condition was a fault of your own such that you should be forcibly reassigned or not. Generally, a medical condition not caused by your own actions is something beyond your control and grounds for allowing you to select discharge for them not being able to honor your contractual guarantee.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Great! Thanks for the info. What would constitute as my own cause?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your replyFraud, not being able to qualify for security clearance needed, not disclosing your prior medical condition, things like that would be considered fault of your own.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay that is definitely not what's going on with me. Do you think my command may be trying to intimidate me? I've refused to sign the paperwork to change rates. I don't think that it's right. I didn't want this to happen and it's not my fault. I've read the MILPERSMAN 1910-133 which basically States that one can be separated for a"Failure to complete change of rating " I'm not afraid of getting a general discharge if that's what it comes to. Also what are the differences between a "direct" "forced" and "lateral" conversion?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your replyThey are likely trying to intimidate you and once you sign you would be considered a voluntary change of your contract. If you refuse to sign and the change is not caused by your fault, they would be in breach of contract and that is a ground for which you could seek discharge. Lateral or forced conversion is where you are moved into another position because of no longer qualifying for your current position.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What is a direct conversion?I read my contact and it just says that the navy has the option to discharge me but nothing about me being able to seek separation.What should a person in my situation do to defend themselves?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If your contract gives them the right to reassign you they can do so. The direct conversion is one where they give you the chance to pick another assignment.
The best thing to do is negotiate with them for a new MOS that you can qualify for based on your scores before they force you into something you do not want if your contract says that they can reassign you.