Limits on Authority to Make Rules


A legislature can delegate its power to make rules and regulations to an administrative agency.  Such power to delegate rule making power derives only from an authorizing or empowering statute.  Regulatory power is not granted by the constitution, but only through delegation by the legislature.  An agency’s rule making power will be regulated by the statute conferring it.  The delegated administrative agency can promulgate rules for the implementation of the law as it exists.  It is the duty of an administrative agency to promulgate rules or regulations by preserving the legislative intend.

An administrative agency cannot impose or substitute its judgments as that of the legislature without a valid statutory authority.  It cannot promulgate a regulation that adds a requirement which does not exist under the statute.  An agency cannot create, remove, or limit substantive rights granted in the enabling act.  A delegated agency can only promulgate rules or regulations to facilitate the execution or performance of a statute.

Fed. Express Corp. v. Holowecki, 552 U.S. 389 (U.S. 2008) was about a class action filed by respondent employees over the age of 40 against defendant delivery service claiming the service’s performance programs violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.  The Court deferred to the position of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the regulations did not identify all necessary components of a charge.  According to the Court, a document meeting the requirements under the labor laws (29 C.F.R. § 1626.6) was not a charge in every instance.  The Court further stated that the language in 29 C.F.R. §§ 1626.6 was not much clear and a general reading identified the procedures for filing a charge but did not state the full contents a charge document must contain.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s position was accepted by the Court and judgment was affirmed.