ADVANTAGE OF CASUAL DAY DAWNS ON COMPANIES

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Khakis, shorts and polo shirts will be de rigueur on summer Fridays at some companies after the success of the United Cerebral Palsy Associations' Casual Day.

About 500,000 workers nationally made varying donations to the charity in exchange for the chance to wear clothes other than business garb on June 17. About $2.7 million was raised.

Thanks to the dramatic morale upswing seen that day, some companies have sanctioned casualwear on summer Fridays. More than 13,000 U.S. employers participated in the fourth annual fund-raiser, including Seagram Beverage Co., AT&T and Lever Bros. Many agencies already allow casual Fridays.

"As a result, we're going to continue casual Fridays through the end of the summer," said Chris Tofalli, Seagram director of corporate communications.

"It leads to a more relaxed atmosphere in the workplace, allowing us to be more free-flowing and creative, which helps," said Gareth Jones, associate product manager for Lever's Surf powder detergent.

In most cases, the decision on what to wear June 17 was left to an employee's discretion.

At AT&T Phone Center's 60 stores, typical worker dress mirrors that of a bank teller. But on Casual Day, employees wore what they wanted within the bounds of good taste.

"It varied by market," said Laurie Bahnatka, assistant manager, personnel.

In Florida, where temperatures approached 100, employees wore shorts and T-shirts. The Phone Center stores are considering adopting summer Fridays.

But some companies have restricted what can be worn on such occasions.

Casual Day sponsor H.J. Heinz Co. imposed a "No blue jeans, no tank tops, no tennis shoes" rule, said Judi Compher, executive benefits administrator.

This was Heinz's second year as a sponsor. After last summer, it adopted casual Fridays throughout the year.

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