Funeral home company sued over wages, bias, harassment

One of the world’s largest funeral home companies faces a class-action lawsuit by up to 6,000 current and former employees for failure to pay back wages and overtime of between $40 and $70 million.

Service Corporation International owns more than 1,700 funeral homes in North America, including a string of funeral homes in Pennsylvania operating under a parent company, Alderwoods Group, based in Cincinnati.

Alderwoods already faces several lawsuits by employees alleging discrimination and harassment in its Burton L. Hirsch Funeral Home in Squirrel Hill, H.P. Brandt Funeral Home in Ross, H. Samson Funeral Home in Oakland and Reese Funeral Home in Harrisburg.

The claims include sexual harassment and lower pay for female employees as well as violations against customers. The latter include charging higher rates to Jewish patrons, violating Jewish burial customs and even corpse abuse, which has prompted some Jewish residents in Harrisburg to boycott the business.