Roles and Responsibilities
Designated Employee Representative (DER)
Each organization that is regulated by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and employs safety-sensitive transportation employees must have at least one qualified and licensed Designated Employee Representative. DER positions are very common in the drug and alcohol testing industry and is recommended that each employer designate a ‘DER’ even if they are not needing to comply with DOT regulations. Other position titles such as Safety Manager/Director, Human Resources personnel and Manager/Owner are usually synonymous with the DER’s job responsibilities. The DER cannot be a third party ‘service provider’ (TPA) due to liability for instituting a compliant drug free workplace that would need to rest with the employer. This is explicitly stated by the USDOT HERE.
The Designated Employee Representative has several primary responsibilities:
- Maintaining confidentiality of employee information, sharing with management only on a ‘need to know’ basis
Record keeping: This is very important in the event of employment dispute or audit from a regulatory entity
Completing employment screenings prior to prospective employee beginning work. This may include background checks, physicals, pre-employment drug screens, reference checks, etc. depending on company industry and policy.
Ensuring employee and manager education is up to date
Random testing programs (if applicable): the DER is responsible for ensuring tests are completed in a timely manner. This may mean directly notifying employees or communicating timelines and selections to Managers.
Providing resources for employees who request assistance. The DER should be prepared to provide information about regional resources for rehabilitation, substance abuse professionals, and the Employee Assistance Program (if available).
Interfacing with service providers (Third Party Administrators, Medical Review Officers, Collection Facilities, Laboratories, etc.) as needed.
Required Role: Manager with Reasonable Suspicion Training
DOT regulated companies are required to have one manager that is trained in ‘Reasonable Suspicion’. The Reasonable Suspicion training will teach a manager how to identify signs or symptoms of substance abuse and how to appropriately confront their employee, document the instance and escort the employee for testing.
If you are unsure about whether your manager should have this training or not, refer to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Drug & Alcohol Supervisor Training Guidance quick-guide. Click HERE.
Is your company required to appoint someone for Reasonable Suspicion? PROCOM provides this training upon request. To submit a request for your company, send us an email using our Contact Page.
Reasonable Suspicion Training
Identifying and confronting an employee who is acting abnormal is not an easy task for most people. The goal of the Reasonable Suspicion Training is to help supervisors become confident in determining whether a test should be issued to an employee or not and how to address the issue. PROCOM can provide the tools they need to be secure in their confrontation tactics and DOT compliance.
There are several options for Reasonable Suspicion Training:
In-person classes are recommended because they provide the most thorough overall experience. The courses will last at least two hours, with the first hour spent on Reasonable Suspicion processes and the documentation required, and the second hour focused on the signs and symptoms of common drugs. We offer training regularly in Colorado; please inquire about upcoming opportunities.
Online courses are definitely not in short supply, but choosing the best course can be frustrating. Our clients have found the Lifeloc course has good value for a virtual outlet. Their course offering can be viewed HERE.
The DOT (Federal Transit Administration) created an awareness video which is accessible HERE.
This video does not satisfy the 120 training minutes requirement but if this route is chosen we recommend this resources in conjunction with another course.
PROCOM is here to support your company with compliance, education and training for not only your administrative staff but your employees as well. Employees should know what, if any, regulations they are required to follow and what the company-specific policies are.
DOT has an employee handbook that can be used for both DOT regulated and non-regulated companies. Open “What Employees Need to Know About DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing” document for more shareable details on compliance.
PROCOM actively gives presentations to employees in Colorado about drug testing in the workplace. Please contact us should you be interested in attending one of our seminars or scheduling a speaker for a company meeting.
There are two types of drug testing files which are required to be kept by all DOT regulated companies: Program Files and Employee Files. Program Files can apply across an entire company and contain information such as the DOT Drug Policy, consortium enrollment and statistics and information on service providers. Driver files must be kept for every DOT employee.
We understand that paperwork can become overwhelming and difficult to track. PROCOM helps alleviate the stress of so much documentation by providing our clients with easy to follow checklists and sample forms. Examples of these forms are provided by the below links:
Record Keeping Requirements
The DOT requires drug and alcohol testing records be retained and available for inspection in the event of an audit. Generally speaking, 3 years is sufficient for most records with the notable exception of positive drug/alcohol testing results which need to be kept for 5 years. Below is a chart which shows how long the FMCSA requires each type of record to be retained.
PROCOM maintains a backup copy of much of the required documentation. We maintain all drug testing results for 3 years, and all positive results for 5 years. We also can access consortium and company testing statistics going back decades. Should you need assistance in filling-in your records don't hesitate to Contact Us.
**Owner Operator Exceptions**
DOT regulated carrier owner-operators are considered their own entity, which means they are assuming the position as a Designated Employee Representative for themselves. Compared to a regular employer, the owner-operator does not require Reasonable Suspicion Training. The owner-operator is, however, responsible for adhering to DOT compliance laws and record tracking. PROCOM can assist a owner-operator with drug testing consortium needs and record keeping support. If the owner-operator were ever audited PROCOM could help establish compliance.