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Human rights officials: Ladies' nights discriminatory

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The Minnesota Department of Human Rights said Friday that it appears five bars in the Twin Cities are discriminating against male patrons by holding "ladies' night" promotions.

The promotions, which offer female customers free or discounted drinks, violate the Minnesota Human Rights Act, department officials said in a statement.

"It is the Department of Human Rights' position that ladies' night is illegal. Gender-based pricing violates the Human Rights Act," Commissioner James Kirkpatrick said.

The five bars have not been named because the cases are still open. While the department's investigation has found evidence that the bars' promotions violated the law, officials said no resolution or settlements have yet been reached with the establishments.

Officials said the department's findings are consistent with one other case the department settled in 1994 with Gators Bar at the Mall of America. The bar, which is no longer there, had charged "ladies night" entry fees that human rights officials determined violated the law.

"Bars and restaurants have other, non-discriminatory options for increasing business, through gender-neutral promotions," the department said in the statement. 

The Human Rights Department said it will not seek out bars that have a "ladies night" but will respond to complaints filed by people who believe they've been discriminated against.