As a rule, a federal court defers to an agency’s reasonable resolution of ambiguities in a law administered by the agency. Courts nonetheless hesitate to defer if Congress did not intend the agency action in question to carry the force of law or when other markers signify that Congress did not grant authority to resolve ambiguities. Following the general deference rule, federal courts routinely defer to the Department of Labor’s interpretation of whistleblower protection laws the DOL administers. Courts unhesitatingly defer even when those laws permit whistleblower claim adjudication by either the DOL or a court, as does the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Because Congress assigned coadjudicative authority under the Act’s whistleblower provision to the DOL and the judiciary, and for pragmatic reasons, deference to the DOL in this context is inappropriate. Read more at the Federalist Society Review