Charity apologise to volunteer over wrong trouser dispute


ONE of the UK’s biggest charities has issued a grovelling apology to a volunteer who sent home and humiliated for wearing the wrong trousers.

Carlos Sanz, 42, from Dundee, was twice hauled before bosses at a British Heart Foundation store and forced to endure two management meetings after a manager decided his trousers were not dark enough.

Despite giving his spare time to volunteer, the university graduate said he felt “humiliated” after being asked to leave the store – once for wearing denim jeans and once for wearing smart dark-blue chinos-style slacks.


After carrying out an internal investigation, the regional manager for Scotland, Phil Dent, apologised for the charity shop’s treatment of Mr Sanz.

He said additional training would now be provided at the Dundee store.

He said: “We are sorry to hear about this incident and investigated what happened at the Dundee BHF Furniture and Electrical Store as a matter of urgency.

“I’d like to personally apologise to Mr Sanz and reassure him that additional training will be conducted at the Dundee store to ensure this does not happen again.”

Last week Mr Sanz told how he felt “humiliated” after bosses twice sent him home for wearing the wrong trousers to volunteer in a Dundee branch of British Heart Foundation.

He claims he was told off during his induction for wearing denim jeans.

His wife then paid for expensive dark-blue and black chinos – but his smart new slacks still failed to meet the approval of his boss, who sent him home again.

“I thought she was joking at first but she was very serious,” he said.

“The manager spoke to me like I was a five-year-old, I am 42 years old, I am not a child. I felt embarrassed, I don’t like confrontation.”

“She told me off in front of other staff and customers.

“I am 42-years-old and I have never been asked to leave anywhere in my life, and I was working for free. She pointed her finger at me, like I was a child.

He added: “I felt humiliated in front of everyone. I was very embarrassed.”

Following the charity’s apology, Mr Sanz said BHF customer service staff had admitted there is no official dress code for its volunteers.

He said today: “Customer service called to let me know the investigation was finished and they apologised.

“They said the incident should never have happened because there is nowhere in writing about the material volunteers should wear.”

Mr Sanz said he hoped other volunteers would not be treated in the same way in future.

He said: “It’s the usual.

“They tell you they take it very seriously and later on give me a general apology, that’s all.

“I don’t even know if they had a proper investigation at all. I just hope they will do something so this will never happen again to other volunteers.”

Regional manager Mr Dent added: “Volunteers are vital to the success of our stores.

“We have 20,000 volunteers and simply couldn’t continue to fight against heart disease without them.”

The charity’s shops – 600 of which are in Scotland – take in £16m across the UK and employ 20,000 volunteers.

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