invoke the Wage Act. Furthermore, no Illinois court has interpreted section 115/1 of the act. The court finds it surprising that the issue now before it is an issue of first impression, but apparently it is. Thus, the only guidance this court has is the language of the statute, the regulations under it, and analogy to other states' wage laws.
1. Language of the Wage Act
Section 115/1 states that the Wage Act "applies to all employers and employees in this State...." 820 ILCS 115/1. Two nouns connected by "and" form a compound group, such as a compound subject or object of a sentence. JOHN B. OPDYCKE, HARPER'S ENGLISH GRAMMAR 203, 226 (1965). In the present case, "employers and employees" is the compound object of the preposition "to." See id. at 42. "In this state" is a prepositional phrase that acts as the adverb modifying "employers and employees." See id.
In plain, grammatically correct English, then, the Wage Act applies to a group consisting of employers and employees, all of whom are in Illinois. Thus, the language of section 115/1 indicates that an employee must be in Illinois to be able to invoke the Wage Act.
Glass argues, however, that the statute expressly offers protection to any employees working for Illinois employers, as well as Illinois employees working for out-of-state employers. The court fails to see how Glass derives this meaning from the language of the statute. His interpretation would require "or" between "employers" and "employees." That is, for the Wage Act to apply, either the employer or the employee must be in Illinois, but both the employer and the employee need not be in Illinois. As section 115/1 is written, it simply cannot support that interpretation.
Glass contends that section 115/7 of the Wage Act supports his interpretation. This provision authorizes the Illinois Department of labor to "enter into agreements with other states to collect unpaid wages from out-of-state employers and to perform reciprocal services for such states in the State of Illinois." 820 ILCS 115/7. Glass contends that defendants' reading of the Wage Act contradicts and obviates this reciprocity provision. According to Glass, under defendants' interpretation, Illinois would have no need to enter into agreements with other states to help collect the unpaid wages of employees living in those other states from Illinois employers if the Wage Act did not apply to protect those out-of-state employees.
The court finds the converse. If the Wage Act automatically covered out-of-state employees working for Illinois employers, there would be no need for the reciprocity for which section 115/7 provides. Out-of-state employees could invoke the Wage Act to recover their wages owed by Illinois employers without assistance from the state of Illinois. Thus, Glass's reading of section 115/1 would render section 115/7 meaningless, violating the rule of statutory construction that the court must look at an entire statute and not interpret the statute in a manner that would render portions of it invalid. See Henry v. St. John's Hospital, 180 Ill. App. 3d 558, 565, 536 N.E.2d 221, 225, 129 Ill. Dec. 537 (4th Dist. 1989), rev'd on other grounds, 138 Ill. 2d 533, 563 N.E.2d 410, 150 Ill. Dec. 523 (1990), cert. denied, 499 U.S. 976, 111 S. Ct. 1623, 113 L. Ed. 2d 720 (1991); Snyder v. Olmstead, 261 Ill. App. 3d 986, 989-90, 634 N.E.2d 756, 761, 199 Ill. Dec. 703 (3d Dist. 1994); Kaszubowski v. Board of Educ., 248 Ill. App. 3d 451, 457-58, 618 N.E.2d 609, 613, 188 Ill. Dec. 39 (5th Dist. 1993).
Furthermore, Glass's interpretation of section 115/1 undermines his response to defendants' argument that the Wage Act cannot apply to an out-of-state employee because an Illinois statute has no extraterritorial force and is operative only as to persons or things within Illinois. See Wimmer v. Koenigseder, 108 Ill. 2d 435, 441, 484 N.E.2d 1088, 1091-92, 92 Ill. Dec. 233 (1985) (other citations omitted); Summar v. Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co., 147 Ill. App. 3d 851, 857, 515 N.E.2d 130, 133, 113 Ill. Dec. 321 (1st Dist. 1986). Glass responds that he is not seeking extraterritorial enforcement of a statute, but merely is seeking to enforce an Illinois statute against Illinois citizens -- defendants. However, under Glass's interpretation of section 115/1, the Wage Act presumably would apply to out-of-state employers employing Illinois employees. It seems that applying the Wage Act in this manner would constitute extraterritorial enforcement of an Illinois statute. Thus, Glass's interpretation of section 115/1 is logically inconsistent with his argument supporting his interpretation.
Accordingly, the court finds that the language of the Wage Act indicates that the act is intended to apply only to Illinois employees working for Illinois employers.
2. Regulations under the Wage Act
Both Glass and defendants argue that section 300.440 of the regulations under the Wage Act supports their respective interpretations of the Wage Act. Section 300.440 states:
The Department [of Labor] will assist an individual in his/her claim for wages or final compensation when: