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Firing at Will: A Manager's Guide [Kindle Edition]

Jay Shepherd
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Print List Price: $29.99
Kindle Price: $17.99
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Book Description


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


What you’ll learn


  • How to make the ultimate decision to fire an employee, and how to carry out that decision

  • The 30 riskiest employees to fire

  • The critical “Retained Dignity” factor, and why you need to keep it as high as possible

  • Why progressive discipline and performance appraisals are ineffectual

  • How your hiring methods and decisions can help you avoid firing employees later

  • How to have “gruntled” employees who wouldn’t dream of suing you


Who this book is for

Firing at Will is a handbook for managers, employers, business owners, human resources professionals, and in-house counsel. Most of these readers will have had very little training in the hows and whens and whys of firing employees. Most people just follow their instincts, often leading to disastrous consequences. For anyone who has the responsibility of hiring and supervising employees, Firing at Will gives guidance and direction to lower the risks of employee terminations.



Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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 (gruntledemployees.com), his workplace blog, and The Client Revolution (clientrevolution.com), 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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 900 KB
  • Print Length: 297 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1430237384
  • Publisher: Apress; 1 edition (November 22, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1430237392
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430237396
  • ASIN: B006C9ELNU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #845,413 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you manage people, read this book. November 23, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Firing At Will is not for the timid. Shepherd recommends that you throw out your policy manual, get rid of progressive discipline, and (gasp) treat people differently.

And when it's time to fire someone, which is usually earlier than you think, Shepherd guides you through the questions to ask, what to say, and what paperwork to use. More importantly, he teaches how to handle a difficult, emotional situation both professionally and respectfully.

Firing At Will is a smart and common-sense approach "to the riskiest thing you can do at work with your clothes on." See my complete review at[...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Love the book! -- useful and funny (no SUCKAGE!), should be on the desk of every HR manager ... no, make that every manager. Your weaving of top companies in how they treat their employees (Costco, Southwest Air, Starbucks, Apple), thought leaders in business (Sinek, Gladwell, etc.) and pop culture (West Wing, Jerry Maguire, Apple, Caine Mutiny...) all make for engaging reading and I use in my leadership course. The best part, however, is your applicable advice and approach based on personal experience that goes against the common practice -- such as no billable hours system, employees first, no handbooks and evaluations. Entertaining, educational and engaging!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential guide to being a manager November 27, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I liked this book because it is common sense advice delivered in plain english. Shepherd boils down tons of real world experience into a thoughtful, practical roadmap for dealing with one of the most important yet least-well managed issues in business. Best, yet, he covers the topic with a light readable tone that keeps things in perspective and doesn't bog the reader down with too much theory or lecturing. Unlike a lot of management books, this one can actually be read by the manager herself, and I think it would be well worth the investment of time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Full of practical advice. A must-read for employers. November 17, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a must-read for employers. It's full of great, practical advice from a lawyer who specialized in management-side employment law for many years. Equally important, it's written in clear, understandable language -- without the legalese (or tedium) normally associated with the topic.
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More About the Author

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 advisor helping companies stay out of trouble. He had something of a knack for it: Law and Politics Magazine named him one of the Top 100 Lawyers in New England. One thing he didn't have a knack for was tracking hours, so in 2006, he banned timesheets from his Boston law firm, Shepherd Law Group. This made some waves around the country and the world, which led Jay to write and speak about the subject. In 2011, he closed the law firm after 13 years and opened Prefix, LLC, a firm that helps professionals learn how to price their knowledge.

Jay writes two award-winning blogs. The American Bar Association has twice listed The Client Revolution, which focuses on reinventing the business of law, as one of the top 100 lawyer blogs. Human Resource Executive has called Gruntled Employees, his workplace blog, the top HR website. He has also been a widely read columnist on the Above the Law, the world's most popular law blog. Follow Jay on Twitter at @jayshep, or email him at jay@prefixllc.com.

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