All right — that may be overly dramatic.  But this month, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 559 — a law to prevent discrimination (in employment and housing) based on "genetic information."  The bill amends the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act to prohibit employers from seeking information regarding:

  • An individual’s genetic tests;
  • Genetic tests of the individual’s family members; and
  • Whether any of the individual’s family members have a particular disease or disorder. 

Since the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act already prohibits employment discrimination based on genetic information, it’s not clear what this new law adds.  But if you’re responsible for keeping your company’s equal employment opportunity policy current, make sure you have "genetic information" listed as one of the protected categories.