© 2011

Firing at Will

A Manager’s Guide

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. The Risks of Firing

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 3-11
    3. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 13-20
    4. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 21-32
    5. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 33-46
  3. The Whys and Hows of Firing

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 47-47
    2. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 49-60
    3. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 61-79
    4. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 81-92
    5. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 93-106
    6. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 107-117
    7. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 119-126
  4. The Worst- Case Scenario

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 127-127
    2. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 129-144
    3. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 145-158
    4. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 159-167
    5. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 169-177
  5. Lowering Your Risks

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 178-178
    2. Jay Shepherd
      Pages 181-195

About this book


Firing at Will shows managers and employers how to do the most difficult part of their jobs: firing employees. Written by a leading employment lawyer in a refreshingly unlawyerly style, this guide takes the reader through the always-risky process of letting an employee go. Many employers and managers are afraid to pull the trigger when the employment relationship has broken down, and will postpone the decision by using progressive discipline and performance-improvement plans. However, an employer must be able to unload employees who threaten to undermine the company and its prospects, regardless of the risks involved in a termination. This book explains how to do it, how not to do it, and how to minimize the danger of an expensive employee lawsuit.

No one said being an employer or a manager was easy. Fortunately, knowing how to fire employees will make your job much, much easier in the long run and save you heartache. Firing at Will teaches you what you need to know, without any legalese or boring recitations of statutes and case law. This book is filled with plain-English common sense, based on Jay Shepherd's 17 years of protecting employers in court. The style is conversational and often irreverent, but the lessons and tips are battle-tested. If you want to be a successful manager or employer—and sleep easier—you need to know how to fire at will.

  • Gives employers and managers real-world advice on how to fire employees
  • Teaches how to keep your company—and yourself—out of expensive employee lawsuits
  • Guides you toward building a workplace where you'll need to fire fewer employees

About the authors

Jay Shepherd is a writer and speaker focused on fixing workplaces so that individuals are free to do their best work. For 17 years, he worked as an employment litigator and adviser helping companies stay out of trouble. Law & Politics magazine named him one of the Top 100 Lawyers in New England. In 2011, he closed his law firm and opened Prefix, LLC, a firm that helps professionals learn how to price their knowledge. Jay writes two award-winning blogs: Gruntled Employees (, his workplace blog, and The Client Revolution (, which focuses on reinventing the business of law. Jay is married to the chief human-resources officer of a top Boston law firm, and they have two amazing young daughters who enjoy reading so much that they might even read this book. Eventually. Follow Jay on Twitter at @jayshep.

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