By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV

HANOVER (CBS) – A popular South Shore coffee chain is under federal scrutiny over its hiring practices.

Marylou’s Coffee chain, known for its young, attractive, female staff, is now being investigated by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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The EEOC is investigating whether Marylou’s Coffee is discriminating in its hiring practices.

According to owner Marylou Sandry, the feds started asking questions nearly a year ago.

In a letter to her state senators, Sandry says they started by asking for dozens of employment applications.

She says she has already spent thousands of dollars defending her business and there isn’t even a case yet.

Marylou claims the EEOC is on a witch hunt.

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“This is such a waste of valuable time and money!!” she told WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson. “I know that my branding is pink. Yes we have many young women working here. But we do not discriminate. Never did.”

The EEOC confirmed that charges have been filed in connection with the investigation, but would not comment on the investigation. People can file charges of discrimination with the EEOC, and then the EEOC will notify the employer of the investigation.

State Senator Bob Hedlund, a loyal customer, says he will write to officials in Washington on behalf of Marylou.

“I think it’s a silly action on the part of the federal government to go after what I think is a legitimate business,” he said. “Quite frankly, I don’t know how many old white fat men have applied at Marylou’s to wear pink shirts to serve coffee.”

A spokesperson for Marylou’s has issued a statement about the complaint.

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“Marylou’s is a woman-owned business that has not had a single complaint in the 25 years we’ve been open,” it read in part. “The implication in this report is absolutely false. We hire only the most qualified applicants, in total compliance with state and federal laws, to work in our stores, and those qualifications begin and end with a winning personality and a passion for customer service.”