On September 20, 2007, France’s National Assembly approved a modification of the French Data Protection Act that will allow companies to collect, analyze and store data about the ethnic and racial origins of employees in connection with specific studies on diversity and antidiscrimination programs carried out in the workplace. The current French data protection rules prohibit the use of such sensitive data. Under the proposed modification of the law, the processing of such data would still be subject to prior authorization by the CNIL, and would also be subject to compliance with other provisions of French data protection law. The text is subject to debate in the Senate prior to final approval.
The official version of the amendment is available (in French) at: http://wwwassemblee-nationale.fr/13/amendements/0057/005700055.asp