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DER - Designated Employer Representative

04 Mar 2014

Designated Employer Representative (DER) Definition and Responsibilities


Employers of safety-sensitive transportation employees play a vital role in ensuring the safety of their employees and the traveling public. Employers are responsible for developing and implementing successful DOT workplace drug and alcohol programs that have as their components clear policies, provisions for education and training, drug and alcohol testing, and when needed, referral for evaluation and treatment.

As defined in 49 CFR Part 40, the Designated employer representative (DER) is an employee authorized by the employer to take immediate action(s) to remove employees from safety-sensitive duties, or cause employees to be removed from these covered duties, and to make required decisions in the testing and evaluation processes. The DER also receives test results and other communications for the employer, consistent with the requirements of this part. Service agents cannot act as DERs.

As defined in 49 CFR Part 40, the Service agent is any person or entity, other than an employee of the employer, who provides services specified under this part to employers and/or employees in connection with DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements. This includes, but is not limited to, collectors, BATs and STTs, laboratories, MROs, substance abuse professionals, and C/TPAs. To act as service agents, persons and organizations must meet the qualifications set forth in applicable sections of this part. Service agents are not employers for purposes of this part.

The DER overall responsibilities:

  • Responsible for administering the Drug and Alcohol Program.
  • The Liaison with drug and alcohol testing service agents.
  • The DER is informed of every test and its result.
  • The DER performs the functions necessary according to the results of the tests and are authorized by employer to take immediate action(s)

–      To remove employees from safety sensitive duties

–      To make necessary decisions in the testing and evaluation process

–      Receives test results and other communications for the employer

The DER is an extremely important position to keep the employer in compliance with the DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing Program.  This should be a person of authority.  If your company has not made a determination of who is the DER, it is time to do so.  The term DER is cited 105 times in 49 CFR part 40.  This function cannot be outsourced to service agents.  Service agents must have appropriate DER contact information in order to perform their duties including contacting the DER about any problems or issues that may arise during the testing process or any part of providing services in the DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing Program