Chicago Partner Bill Wortel was quoted at length Oct. 4 by Law360 regarding best practices for employers who use severance agreements to help fend off lawsuits from departing workers. Wortel cautioned that while federal laws should be a major concern for employers, they also must know state laws. “Some states require that specific language be included in a severance agreement in order to obtain a valid and enforceable release of claims,” he said. “Employers often use the same form severance agreement in multiple states without bothering to research state-specific requirements, only to later find out that they paid the exiting employee for an unenforceable release of claims.” In addition, he said, it’s important to have a carve-out in a severance agreement for any pre-existing agreements with the outgoing worker that the employer wants to keep intact.