Congratulations. You have been promoted to the position of Designated Employee Representative. Now, what?

Per U.S. Department of Transportation regulation 49 CFR Part 40, a Designated Employee Representative, or DER, is the person in a workplace who is responsible for the drug and alcohol testing program. The DER is the employee at the company, authorized by the employer, to take immediate action to remove employees from safety-sensitive duties if they appear impaired, to make decisions required in the testing process and to receive drug and alcohol test results.

While a DER is required in all DOT regulated workplaces that employ workers in safety-sensitive roles, Non-DOT employers also frequently assign a DER so that the company’s to drug and alcohol testing policy can be supervised and managed.

As a DER, there’s quite a bit of information you’ll need to be aware of, but often workplaces aren’t able to provide appropriate training and support for the role. That’s where TSS can help. Not only does the TSS team spend a lot of time assisting DERs with key regulatory issues, but we also provide essential training that ensures that the employer’s drug and alcohol program is always in compliance and the workplace remains safe.

DER Duties

Sometimes newly assigned DERs don’t even have a full understanding of the duties mandated by the DOT. It’s a big job with numerous responsibilities. For example:

  • The DER is the liaison between the employee, all professionals involved in the drug and alcohol testing process, the employer and federal authorities. The DER strives to ensure that the testing and reporting process moves along as smoothly as possible. This can mean dealing with a resistant employee or making sure that the employer has hired qualified service providers for testing. When there is an irregularity or a positive test result, the DER typically is responsible for taking the next steps with the employee such as removing them from safety-sensitive duties, ordering another test, or providing Substance Abuse Professional contacts for the employee.
  • The DER is responsible for maintaining the records of the drug and alcohol program. According to the regulations, these records must be maintained in a separate location from HR files. We are often asked why. The answer is simple. Various employees in the HR department may have access to employee files such as insurance, emergency contact, pay status, etc. The drug screening records are confidential and should not be available to anyone other than the Designated Employer Representative.
  • The DER also ensures that the TPA has accurate records regarding the employees that are required to be in the testing pool. To help the TPA do their job, the DER is responsible for ensuring that the records are always updated and that individuals who are no longer performing safety-sensitive duties or have left the company are removed from the testing pool. TSS and the DERs in our consortium work together to provide high-level management of the testing protocols. This protects the donor and the company.
  • The DER is the person who works with the modal agency that has oversight of their workplace for drug and alcohol regulations. If an audit is required, the DER provides the records and reviews them with the auditor. 

Let TSS, Inc. help you understand the ins and outs of your position and learn best practice strategies for fulfilling your duties. Our YOU, THE DER webinar is designed to educate DERs on their responsibilities, DOT rules and regulations, the methodologies of drug and alcohol testing, random pool administration and record keeping.

Sign up now for YOU, THE DER by visiting, and clicking on Training/Upcoming Trainings.  The next class is scheduled for Tuesday, January 17th, at 10 a.m., AK, 1 p.m., Central.