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What Are The Responsibilities Of A Designated Employer Representative?

  • Published: Jun, 2 2020
  • Updated: Jun, 2 2020

Many businesses strive for a safer, more productive working environment. One of the best ways to achieve this is to maintain a drug-free workplace. In some cases, it may even be legally mandated for a company to follow this policy to remain compliant with agencies of the US Department of Transportation if they are under the administration of specific organizations.

One of the main ways to implement this system and ensure its smooth operation is to have an individual member of the staff known as the Designated Employer Representative. But what is the designated employer representative responsibility? It falls into three general categories.


The first is that the DER is the resident expert on all things related to drug testing. If a company handles air freight, for example, then its operations and staff would fall under the jurisdiction of drug testing requirements from the Federal Aviation Administration. The DER would know what those regulations are and would advise a business on how to stay compliant.

The DER would also plan the internal policies that a company would adhere to when it comes to testing. If anyone outside or inside the company has any questions about drug testing, the DER should be the de facto voice of authority on the matter.


Another designated employer representative responsibility is advising supervisors and making decisions regarding drug testing itself. It is not the DER’s job to track the possible drug use activities of every employee in the company. However, if supervisors—who have been trained and advised by the DER—come forward with suspicions of drug use, the DER conducts the investigation.

If the DER evaluates the evidence and suspicion and sees that it has merit, it is the DER’s role to take the next step, removing the staff member from the normal roster if necessary for safety reasons, and ordering a drug test. Beyond DoT mandated drug tests, only the DER has the authority to advise and authorize additional testing.


A final responsibility is the actual execution of policy and management decisions. In addition to authorizing tests, the DER is the one that liaises with specimen collectors when they arrive for sample collection and works to ensure collection goes smoothly.

Once collection is complete, the specimens go to a laboratory for testing. When the results are in, the DER is the first point of contact with the lab to be informed of positive or negative results. Positive results usually require multiple tests to eliminate false positives. However, once the final results are in, they are reverted to the DER. The DER is then responsible for informing management of the results and advising on the proper course of action, especially if there is Federal compliance required.

Proper Training Required

The role of the DER is not merely a title given to anyone or managed casually. DER duties are explicit and, in the case of Dot compliance, critical to ensuring a company is legally allowed to do business. This requires thorough training and orientation.

If the DER position is for a company that needs to stay compliant with DoT regulations, then specific training for that agency, such as FAA DER Training should be sought from qualified experts.

We are an education company, not a law firm. The information and content we provide is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. We make no representations, warranties, or guarantees regarding the accuracy, completeness, or applicability of the content. It is important to always consult with a qualified attorney for specific legal counsel pertaining to your individual circumstances.