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Should I refuse to sign counseling statements I do not agree with?

It looks like I will be getting a counseling statement I do not agree with. I am not planning on signing it. Is this a bad idea?

You have a few options:

Should I refuse to sign my counseling statement

Rather than refusing to sign your counseling statement, you can sign and write a rebuttal instead.

Option 1: You could refuse to sign. This does not usually help the situation and can ultimately put you at a significant disadvantage. If you happen to be working for an unethical leader, you empower them by not signing. The leader can simply write “Soldier refused to sign”  and sign/date the form himself. At any later date the leader could write a counseling statement without your knowledge, and simply write “Soldier refused to sign.” You’ve set a precedent at that point. If you try to contest the counseling, the leader can say, “He always refuses to sign his counseling statements.”  It then becomes your responsibility to prove the counselings did or did not take place. You are now on the defensive. The odds of this happening are slim but why put yourself in this position?

Option 2 (Recommended): Disagree with the counseling and  write a rebuttal. If you need time to write your rebuttal  you can request a reasonable period of time to respond to the counseling statement. Write “I request 24 hours to properly prepare my response to this counseling”.

If the leader refuses to allow you a reasonable time period to respond, write “I requested 24 hours to prepare my rebuttal to this counseling and SGT Doe refused to allow me adequate time to prepare my response.”

If he does allow you time to prepare your response, write  ”Please see attached sheet.”

Note: Refusing to sign a counseling statement shows a lack of maturity and professionalism on your part. It simply sets you up for failure. The best course of action is to disagree with the counseling and write your rebuttal.  Make sure you get a copy of the counseling statement. You are entitled to a copy.

posted on 04/25/2011 under Q&A
Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training..

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