Top charity probes “wrong trousers” row


ONE of the country’s biggest charities is investigating after a volunteer claimed he was sent home and humiliated – for wearing the wrong trousers.

Carlos Sanz, 42, from Dundee, says he was twice hauled before bosses at a British Heart Foundation shop 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.

Mr Sanz also claims he was forced to endure two management meetings about his choice of legwear.

Carlos's smart chinos broke strict the strict dress code at the Dundee branch of teh BHF
Carlos’s smart chinos broke strict the strict dress code at the Dundee branch of teh BHF


Yesterday, the deputy retail director of British Heart Foundation confirmed the charity had launched an investigation as a “matter of urgency,” saying volunteers were vital to the success of the shops.

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

Mr Sanz, who has previously volunteered at a library and a Red Cross Shop, began working at the BHP store in Wellgate, Dundee, two weeks ago.

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.

He said: “I want to get on one of these graduate training programmes but you need sales experience so I volunteered.

“I was told at the induction not to wear denim so my wife went and bought me trousers in black and dark blue.“I was at the staff meeting the next morning and the manager said I shouldn’t be wearing jeans.

“I thought she was joking at first but she was very serious.

“The same thing happened when I came in wearing the dark blue trousers. She said it was denim but it wasn’t.

“She said this is policy, we have to maintain standards. Then she asked me to leave.

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

He said the experience had left his confidence in shatters.

“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,” he said.

Carlos, from Spain, says his confidence has been shattered and he will not volunteer any more
Carlos, from Spain, says his confidence has been shattered and he will not volunteer any more


“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.

Mr Sanz has lived in Scotland for 15 years after moving from Spain.

He has been a regular volunteer in Dundee for the past two years.

He said: “I am familiar with volunteering. I have volunteered in the library, at the Red Cross and at the British Heart Foundation shop.

“I have always had a wonderful experience volunteering, but I am not going to volunteer anymore because that was horrible. My confidence is on the ground.”

The manager of the store, who identified herself only as Gail, defended her decision to boot Carlos out the shop.

She said she had more than 40 years management experience and all 27 volunteers at the Wellgate Centre are treated the same way.

She said: “Everyone is told to wear dark trousers. He was not wearing dark trousers, they are denim.

“When I spoke to him about it he started arguing with me.

“Anyone who thinks they can lecture me on my shop floor is not welcome in my shop.”

BHF deputy retail director Diane Locke, said: “We are sorry to hear about this incident and will be investigating what happened at the Dundee BHF Furniture and Electrical Store as a matter of urgency.

“Volunteers are vital to the success of BHF shops. We have 20,000 volunteers and simply couldn’t continue the fight against heart disease without them.”