California Governor Jerry Brown (D) has signed an amendment to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), Cal. Civ. Code § 12920 et seq., to include military or veteran status as a class protected from employment discrimination. The law defines “military or veteran status” as “a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces Reserve, the United States National Guard, and the California National Guard.” The new law would allow employers to inquire regarding an applicant’s or employee’s military or veteran status for the purpose of awarding a veteran’s preference as permitted by law. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2014.

California employers should consider updating their nondiscrimination policies and employment applications to include military or veteran status as a protected class.