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Pop Culture, Celebrities Deaths, and Suicide

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September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. We’re doing a series of posts this month to encourage conversation around what many have seen to be a taboo subject.

sad-659422_1920Death is an uncomfortable subject and death by suicide even more so. When someone takes his/her life, family members and loved ones oftentimes feel shame and disgrace. The cause of death may be hidden, and loved ones may be reticent to share their feelings surrounding the death. Too often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent them from talking openly. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Effectively Investigate Harassment Claims: 7 Key Steps

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Blog ImagesThis is part 2 of an article, which originally appeared in the Summer 2018 edition of OGR’s Independent magazine. Read Part 1 here.

It is important to realize upfront that investigating sexual harassment complaints is not easy. It tends to be an embarrassing situation for all parties involved or questioned. Not only are the employees involved in the investigation going to be uneasy, but the individual responsible for undertaking the investigation may be sensitive to how the outcome of the investigation may impact their relationship with employees or management. To facilitate this difficult process, funeral home owners/managers can follow several key steps:  Read the rest of this entry »

How to Effectively Investigate Harassment Claims: Policy and Procedure

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8.8.18 Harassment Policy Featured Image

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2018 edition of OGR’s Independent magazine.

Sexual harassment in the workplace continues to be a trending topic in the United States. While many would like to believe that harassment is not taking place in the funeral industry, in fact, this industry has not escaped these incidents. Various lawsuits have been filed against family-owned and international funeral businesses.

Many funeral businesses understand the need to have anti-harassment policies as well as formal procedures in place for employees to report any harassment. Most anticipate they are never likely to receive such a report. (For more on preventing workplace harassment, read part 1 and part 2 from our blog on this very topic.) However, the reality is that any funeral business may receive a complaint from an employee about experiencing sexual harassment while working.

Frequently, such complaints catch owners and managers completely off guard, and they stumble when they attempt to deal with the situation. This may put them at greater risk for a costly lawsuit. So how does a funeral home owner or manager handle a complaint of sexual harassment? Read the rest of this entry »

Funeral Directors Aren’t So Scary

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6.20.18 Funeral Directors Aren't Scary Blog - M. AllenThis post was first shared on Have the Talk of a Lifetime’s blog on May 4.

When I was in elementary school, I discovered that one of my classmates was the child of a funeral home owner. I pitied this attractive, popular girl for having a parent that my 8-year old brain imagined to be a beady-eyed, sallow-skinned man who lurked around a cobwebbed funeral home on dark and stormy nights. One day she invited me to a birthday party at her home. I accepted despite dreading the thought of meeting her creepy father. To my surprise, on the day of her party, a man resembling Will Ferrell, not Bela Lugosi, greeted me at the door. He was funny, charming and warm. This was a funeral director? I couldn’t believe that all those Hollywood movies got it so wrong. 
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Attitudes About Funeral Service: The Public vs. Funeral Directors, Part III–Cost of Funerals

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May, 2018 Posts - FD Vs. Public, Part 3

Most people don’t like paying for things they don’t want to buy. And most people don’t want to even think about their funerals let alone pay for one. That puzzles funeral directors. They know the great lengths they go to when putting details together for smooth-running ceremonies. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average funeral cost $7,360 in 2016. Compare that to an average price of $25,449 for a new car, $35,329 for a wedding and $352,500 for a new home, and funerals start looking like bargain. But not to John Q. Public as demonstrated in the following exchange:

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Attitudes About Funeral Service: The Public vs. Funeral Directors, Part II–Cremation

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May, 2018 Posts - FD Vs. Public, Part 2The percentage of Americans who were cremated reached an all-time high of 50 percent in 2016. Cremation opened the doors for people to hold funeral ceremonies in places that were meaningful to them and gave them more time to consider options. There’s just one problem, and it drives funeral directors crazy: the guest of honor is often conspicuously absent from his or her own funeral. With no body present, people have to imagine to whom they’re paying tribute.

A conversation between a member of the public and funeral director about cremation might go something like this:  Read the rest of this entry »

How Your Funeral Home Can Honor Memorial Day

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May, 2018 Memorial Day Cover2In honor of Memorial Day, Americans should take time to remember fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for our country. As a funeral director, you can make a difference in your community by observing this day of significant importance and encouraging members of your community to do the same.

Looking for ways to do this? Read the rest of this entry »