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ABC15 Asks: Is sexual harassment in the media changing workplace culture?

Do you think sexual harassment culture is changing? (Sydney Glenn/WPDE){ }{p}{/p}
Do you think sexual harassment culture is changing? (Sydney Glenn/WPDE)

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Wednesday morning, NBC announced that it had fired "Today" show anchor Matt Lauer after receiving a sexual misconduct allegation against him.

Lauer is one of several high-powered men fired after recent allegations of this sort. Last week, CBS News fired Charlie Rose following sexual misconduct allegations.

Related: Advocate for local sexual assault victims says #MeToo movement is empowering, educational

Sexual harassment is not new, but the national headlines about it are far more numerous these days. Now, those stories are changing the culture of the workplace, according to a local business owner.

“I think what’s new are the discussions. I think in the past we just sort of looked the other way, especially as women," Gina Trimarco, the owner of Pivot10 Results, said.

Trimarco trains employees on things like sexual harassment.

"I think people are not sure. You see kind of the half and half. Some people are saying this is a lot of hype and what about being proven, what about being innocent before being guilty? So, you’re seeing some of that. But, on the other side, you’re seeing, ‘Gosh, we better do something, we better do something in the work environment to prevent this, to stop this'." she said.

The culture of what is acceptable in the workplace is also changing, Trimarco said.

“I don’t think it’s changing fast enough. I think there is still some kind of jokes around it like, ‘Oh, don’t file a sexual harassment suit on me,’ so it's being talked about but it hasn’t hit rock bottom yet," she said.

ABC15 News spoke with members of the local community about how they think things are changing.

“It used to be swept under the rug and nobody knew what was going on," one woman said.

“Hopefully it’s going to curtail some people’s activities," one man said.

Many people agreed--the national headlines are bringing up an important conversation.

“One hundred percent because we’re seeing it nationally people are saying, ‘I’ve had enough. I’m going to step forward. I’m not going to put up with it anymore.”

Trimarco said she's expecting to get more calls from companies wanting her to train employees.

"The good boss, the smart boss, the smart leader, the smart company is going to be really proactive about this and start doing something ahead of time before something hits the fan," she said.

It's also a dollar and cents issue for companies.

“If I, as a trainer, can’t get through to you about doing the right thing, think about the cost to your bottom line in insurance and liability if you don’t do something about this and be proactive," Trimarco said.

Trimarco said she thinks this is just the beginning of how these allegations will change the workplace environment.

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“I think you’re going to start seeing people put their foot down and go, 'I don’t have to tolerate this,'" she said.

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