HISD’s Workshop Wednesday: Protecting Yourself and Your Company from Liability

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Gathered in the Milby High School library, Risk Mitigation Worldwide President and CEO Eartha Jean Johnson engaged local small business owners in an interactive training session focused on helping them protect themselves from liability issues.

Johnson spoke to the group as part of Workshop Wednesday, a monthly series for minority- and women-owned businesses that is hosted by HISD’s Business Solutions Supplier Diversity department.

Her presentation — “How to Protect Yourself and Your Company from Liability” — focused on the risks and liabilities associated with small business communications and documents, with an emphasis on contracts.

“Today was about sharing information to small business owners that they can use to protect themselves and their company from liability,” Johnson said. “[It] can prevent them from getting into situations that can expose them to risks.”

Johnson has traveled nationally and internationally sharing with small business owners the knowledge and expertise she acquired while practicing law. She aims to help businesses and executives avoid mistakes that often result in jury awards, compliance sanctions, and criminal liability.

During the Workshop Wednesday session, Johnson explained how small business owners can avoid getting into situations that can expose their companies to risks associated with regulatory compliance sanctions, internal disputes, lawsuits, and indictments.

It is important to know the rules, Johnson said, noting that she believes there is a general lack of understanding of how laws impact a business’s daily operations.

“Most people don’t have a clue. They don’t know the little things that can bury a small company,” Johnson said. “That’s why it is important that they know, and that they are informed and aware that liability is real.”

During the training session, Johnson provided the group with risk mitigation practices to help them avoid unfavorable and unenforceable contractual terms, lawsuits, negative media, and criminal indictments.

She also reminded attendees that they must be aware of every law and policy that applies to them, so they can know how to best protect themselves and their business.

“Write as if you are being published. Speak as if you are being recorded. And act as if you are being videotaped,” Johnson said, concluding the session. “Never rely upon a privilege or promise of confidentiality.”

HISD’s Business Solutions Supplier Diversity Department hosts workshops for minority and women-owned business enterprises on the first Wednesday of every month at different HISD campuses. Topics vary, but all workshops aim to help small business owners succeed.

For more information on upcoming workshops and networking opportunities, please contact the Business Assistance Supplier Diversity office at 713-556-7273 or BusinessAssistance@HoustonISD.org.