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Sunday, 3 June, 2001, 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
Sexy clothes a legal issue for firms
Shorts
Cut-off shorts on staff could lead to trouble for bosses
Companies are being urged to ensure they have appropriate summer dress codes in place as scantily-clad staff could lead to harassment lawsuits.

Employment law specialist Gabriella Wright said that not only would employees dressed in the bare minimum be more open to harassment, their colleagues would also be entitled to complain.

"The problem is that the responsibility ultimately lies with the employer and he or she could be liable if sexual discrimination complaints or harassment occurred," said Ms Wright, of City law firm Charles Russell.


Anything which is revealing too much flesh could cause offence or attract the wrong sort of attention

Nick Hurley
solicitor
Any dress code should ensure the same rules apply, as far as possible, to male and female employees, she said.

Prohibited items of clothing - which could include bikini tops or cut-off shorts - should also be spelt out in such codes.

"Anything which is revealing too much flesh could cause offence or attract the wrong sort of attention," said solicitor Nick Hurley, also of Charles Russell.

The lawyers warned that companies also need to ensure that dress codes are drawn up to avoid claims under the Human Rights Act.

"Employers need to get the right balance," said Ms Wright.

"They should set out clear and reasonable standards of dress that allow employees to maintain a professional image, but that still allow them to exercise their freedom of expression."

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