Katie Couric's Notebook: Hiring Bias

CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric
CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric.

You've probably heard the old cliche - "It's easier to find a job when you already have a job."

But with nearly 14 million Americans now unemployed, that logic presents a major problem. How can you get a job if you don't have one?

Michelle, a 53-year-old IT supervisor in Illinois, was laid off in 2008. She said she was contacted by a head-hunter eager to place her until he learned she had been jobless for over a year. Suddenly, she was out of the running.

Her case was one of several described to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at a hearing yesterday on this issue.

Not only is the practice unfair, advocates argued, but it may be illegal - since it discriminates against groups like older workers and minorities, who are more likely to be unemployed.

It's no surprise that in a tight job market, employers will seek out the very best candidate. But they' would be wise to remember that the best candidate isn't always the one with a job.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.