This summer's fashion for crop tops and cut-off shorts could leave some employees hot under the collar, employers have been warned.

Employment rights lawyer Gabriella Wright at insurance firm Charles Russell said employers could find themselves in the dock for allowing their staff to dress inappropriately.

She explained: “Male and female colleagues could be offended by the way the opposite sex is dressed and may bring a claim for harassment because of their working environment.”

Clothing that may be considered inappropriate for the workplace is said to include anything that “reveals too much flesh, causes offence or attracts the wrong sort of attention”, said Wright's colleague, Nick Hurley.

However, Wright said the issue was complicated by the Human Rights Act, which says employees are entitled to the right of free expression and this includes what they might wear.

She said it was important that employers realised they were obliged to provide a professional working environment, but had to balance this with employees' right to free expression.