The State Senate passed a bill protecting Californians from discrimination based on genetic information on August 22, 2011. According to KPBS, Senate Bill 559 would prohibit DNA-based discrimination in areas of housing, employment, education, public accommodations, health insurance coverage, life insurance coverage, mortgage lending, and elections. The bill received bipartisan support in its approval and now goes to the Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.
While the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) became federal law in 2008, that bill provides protections limited to employment discrimination and health insurance coverage. Senate Bill 559 would “ensure that the range of coverage for Californians is consistent with existing California civil rights laws and would include genetic information as a prohibited basis for discrimination,” according to the California Newswire.
The author of the bill, Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), told the Newswire, “Discrimination on the basis of genetic information is no less offensive than discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. California has a compelling interest in promoting and fostering the medical promise of genomics while relieving the fear of discrimination by strengthening laws to prevent it.”
Hopefully the Governor is quick to sign this landmark civil rights protection bill into law and help not only end discrimination at work, but protect Californians in even more areas of life.
Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob – Los Angeles employment attorneys