MADISON (WKOW) -- As dozens of sexual misconduct scandals play out on a national scale, a human resources professor at Madison College sees a breaking point in the workplace culture.
Madison College's Human Resource Management Program Director Nancy Johnson says she sees a change in direction as more and more women come forward about sexual misconduct in the workplace.
"I think we're at a cultural watershed moment," said Johnson, who, besides teaching, has a breath of experience in the HR field. "I think that was kind of a breaking point where women began to say well I guess it's OK for me to come forward."
Johnson says the role of HR departments may soon change.
"I think HR departments are going to have more credibility, I think they'll have more responsibility," said Johnson. "I think that we're moving into a new positive direction and we're going to have to go through some pain before we get there."
Still, Johnson says it comes to changing the workplace culture, it goes beyond the HR department."
"I think it's been too much to ask that we say 'oh well HR departments should be the cops on the beat to take care of this' it's bigger than that," she said. "I think the only thing that can end sexual harassment is a culture that says we respect each other as human beings."
As more sexual misconduct allegations come to light, Johnson says there's been a heightened awareness on the topic.
"We're going to have perhaps a new structure that says that when women go to the workplace they no longer have to fear that they're going to be assaulted or that they're going to be harassed because of their gender," she said. "I'm optimistic that things are going to get better."
To help increase awareness, the Greater Madison Area Society for Human Resource Management tells 27 News they've held several education sessions on sexual harassment taught by local HR legal specialists.