Controversy Brewing at Marylou's?

(Photo by John Phelan via Wikimedia Commons)

Yes, most of the servers at Marylou’s are young and female. And, yes, the South Shore purveyor of Joe in hot pink cups puts these smiling teens and twentysomethings in its TV spots — they bop around the beach, hula-hoop, or lip sync to the shop’s theme song (“the best coffee in town …”).

But does this merit an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission probe into the 29-store java chain’s hiring practices?

According to the Herald, the agency has been looking into Marylou’s hiring practices for nearly a year, reviewing job applications and talking to bosses and employees. Founder Marylou Sandry called the investigation a “witch hunt” and said that the company has never been sued for any kind of discrimination in a letter to state Sen. John F. Keenan.

The last time I stopped at Marylou’s for a toasted almond iced coffee, my clerk was a pretty teenager. But that didn’t surprise me, seeing how it was June on the Cape — I’d expect a high schooler behind the counter, working for spending money over summer vacation.

Fans of the popular chain are suggesting that the government has bigger fish to fry. State Sen. Robert L. Hedlund, for one, is perplexed by the EEOC inquiry:

“Why, because they haven’t hired old overweight men who want to wear a pink T-shirt and serve coffee?” Hedlund told the Herald. “The federal government has better things to do with my tax dollars than to harass a legitimate business.”

Did a specific incident spur the probe? We’ll have to wait for more information to percolate.