Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does this bill do?
A: It will allow active duty servicemen and women the right to sue the United States for discrimination on the basis of:
Absence of religion
Q: Do members of the military currently have the right to sue the federal government if he or she is discriminated against?
A: No. Under Title VII, every American EXCEPT active duty service members can file claims for discrimination.
Q: Is the military an Equal Opportunity employer?
A: No. Unlike most US employers, the US military is allowed to discriminate. Although The Stremel Act does not directly affect employment (or as it is known in the military, recruiting), it does allow those who have already been recruited the right to protect themselves and their dependents from being discriminated against.
Q: Does the military have Equal Opportunity policies?
A: Yes, however they mostly pertain to civilian employers.
The policies that do cover service members only allow one of two administrative avenues:
1) Informal complaint
2) Formal Complaint
Neither of which have any real consequences, trained full-time agents (as with the EEOC), or oversight outside of an internal, lengthy ‘review.’ If the offender is high ranking, civilian, and/or a social worker and the victim is a service member, there is virtually no oversight or accountability.
Legally, there are ZERO CONSEQUENCES for the federal government if they discriminate against an active duty service member (as is the case with Stremel, where the military acknowledged there was gender and religious discrimination, yet the current law prohibits Stremel from taking any legal action.)
Other avenues: Chaplains and JAGs cannot formally represent or speak on behalf of a service member and therefore cannot offer any help (except for emotional and/or spiritual support).
The Inspector General process can sometimes take months or years and put an unrealistic burden of proof on the victim. The IG investigations often only led to a “slap on the wrist” regardless of the outcome, and there is still no way for the service member to recoup because of the current laws.
Q: If The Stremel Act passes, will members of the military still be required to use the current Equal Opportunity process and Chain of Command?
A: Yes! The Stremel Act will not cancel current policy, however it will add the final step of being able to file a claim in court (which is what civilian federal military employers have the right to do.)
Discrimination is not a victimless offense. It is not the “PC police whining and over reacting.” It can have life changing consequences (as with Stremel, who suffered from anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms among other issues). It can ruin careers. It can have a devastating financial impact. It can sometimes lead to suicide or other mental health issues.
Q: Isn’t the military unique and therefore should be allowed to discriminate as much as it wants in order to “accomplish the mission” and “keep America safe?”
A: This is a myth. There are ZERO provable examples of battles, missions, operations, etc. that were successful as a direct result of the military’s current Right to Discriminate policies.
If someone is reading this and would like to testify before Congress or submit a provable example of a mission that was only accomplished as a direct result the federal government’s current Right to Discriminate, then by all means do so.
Otherwise, this is nothing more than a bias towards the status quo. Alienation of those who are different will only shut the door to being able to recruit a diverse, deadly, and effective fighting force.
Q: If The Stremel Act passes, will members of the military flock to the court room every time they believe they are discriminated against?
A: This is alarmist myth not backed by any data. Service members still have to follow the current EO policies. The complaint still has to be filed within the chain of command. The offense still has to be proved (which can take months or longer and involve witnesses, evidence, affidavits, testimonies, etc.) The investigation still has occur. The Secretary of each branch still has a say in the matter.
The FTCA still requires that a complainant “exhaust all other administrative options” before being able to go to court. Going to court involves filing fees, attorney fees, and a mountain of other burdensome steps. The complainant still has to convince a federal court that there are damages that need to be reconciled.
So the notion that service members are going to be filing lawsuits left and right is ridiculous. In fact, there is more precedence to argue that simply having The Stremel Act become law will deter future discrimination lawsuits because there is now a potential for a consequence where there wasn’t one before.
Q: If The Stremel Act passes, will it lower standards for military service members?
A: No, this is a barbaric argument that was brought up when the military considered allowing African-Americans the right to serve, women the right to serve, gays the right to serve, etc.
Service members are still required to do their job. If they can perform the task, they should serve without fear of being discriminated against.
There is no evidence that the US military is in decline or growing weaker. In fact, there is bipartisan agreement that the US military only gets stronger and better as it becomes more diverse. Today’s military is the most effective fighting force the world has ever seen.