"Unemployment discrimination" and the jobless

Of the 14 million Americans currently unemployed, 6 million have been jobless for more than 6 months.

CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano reports that many job seekers say being unemployed is being held against them.

Delores Barnes always goes job hunting armed with her dossier of documents, including her birth certificate.

Two years ago, she was laid off from her supervisor job with New York's Children's Services. Ever since, Barnes has been looking for work to support her and her nine-year-old daughter, Savianna

"I can't give up. I'm on a mission. I have a daughter, and she's like, I have to be strong for her. I have to show her that you just don't give up," Barnes says.

Yet no amount of persistence can overcome the simple fact that some employers don't want to hire the unemployed. In job posting after job posting, companies require that applicants "must be currently employed."

"They have that perception that they are the dead weight, therefore they want the strong people who are currently employed," says Robert Krzak, president of Gecko Hospitality.

Krzak says some companies won't even consider unemployed job candidates.

"If there is a candidate out there who has been out there in the job market for six months or even a year or more than a year, a lot of companies are very suspect of that, because why aren't they working?" Krzak says.

"It's discriminatory and the fact that just because you don't have a job you can't compete for a job," says Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.

DeLauro is sponsering a bill aimed at stopping the practice.

"These are competent people. They have lost their job through no fault of their own, Why shouldn't they have an opportunity?" DeLauro says.

Barnes says the practice doesn't make sense, hiring people who have jobs when so many don't.

Barnes is now training to be a computer technician, and says she'll keep pounding the pavement, even though with some companies she can't even get her foot in the door.

  • Elaine Quijano

    Elaine Quijano was named a CBS News correspondent in January 2010. Quijano reports for "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News," and contributes across all CBS News platforms. She is based in New York.