Daniela E. PavukOffice: Billings
With 15 years of legal experience, I primarily focus on representing employers in connection with human resource issues related to Montana’s employment law, which is unlike other states’ laws. I also have experience with North Dakota and Wyoming employment law. My clients have told me that my services are thorough, responsive, timely and that – in one client’s opinion – I have been “the best representative of our company from a legal perspective.” I work closely with employers both on the advice side as well as representing employer interests in litigation related to discrimination, pay and wrongful discharge. My practice also encompasses representation related to federal employment law.
A Little About Me …
One of the most important events in my life happened before I was three years old – my parents escaped from communist Czechoslovakia with my older sister and me. Their decision to leave behind everything and everyone they knew and loved to give my sister and me the opportunity to become anything in life, instilled sacrifice and dedication into my very core.
I see the same sacrifice and dedication in my employer clients, who strive to create opportunity for their businesses and the people who work for them. In turn, they entrust me with solving their problems, whether those problems are in the courtroom, or in the employer’s place of business.
My parents raised me to be honest and trustworthy. In fact, I am known by my colleagues and clients for my “tell-it-like-it-is” personality. It is one of my best and most appreciated qualities. My clients always know where they stand with me and their cases.
In addition to working with employers in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming, I also represent and defend companies and individuals in an array of litigation, which has included contract disputes, personal injury and property damage matters related to construction and oil field operations, motor vehicle accidents and products liability.
What case was the most rewarding to work on?
While it is difficult to choose just one, my most rewarding case was also one of my first employment matters. Both the hearing examiner and the Board of Labor and Appeals for the State of Montana Department of Labor and Industry had found that a former employee was entitled to unemployment insurance benefits. The employee had abandoned his job after less than three weeks on the job. My employer client asked me to appeal the decision to the district court, knowing that unemployment insurance benefit decisions are typically determined in favor of the employee. This appeal was important to my client on the basis of principal. My employer client had been willing to work with the employee to teach him the job, but the employee only seemed interested in collecting unemployment insurance.
Based on my briefing, the district court reversed the decision by the Board awarding the employee unemployment insurance benefits, and, in turn, found that the employee had abandoned his employment without good cause and was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. The district court stated: “Had the Board reviewed the record prior to rendering a decision as required under A.R.M. 24.11.306(1), this would have been abundantly clear. The Board’s determination that [employee] advised [employer] of his inability to do the work in ‘a rather limited way’ is a gross understatement.” The district court further stated: “The Board’s determination that [employee] qualifies for unemployment benefits is contrary to the stated policy of setting aside reserves to ‘be used for the benefit of persons unemployed through no fault of their own.’ Mont. Code Ann. 39-51-102(3)(2011).”
- Commercial Litigation
- Construction Law
- Construction Defects
- Advice and representation in employment litigation, including wrongful discharge and discrimination matters
- Development of drug testing policies and related advice
- Employee discipline and termination advice
- Employee screening, hiring practices and policies
- Employment contract review and drafting
- Employment policy development, including handbook drafting and review
- Family and Medical Leave Act compliance
- Independent contractor / employee classification
- National Labor Relations Act
- Non-compete and non-disclosure agreements
- Separation agreements
- Wage and hour compliance
- Workplace safety / OSHA
- Tort Litigation
- Common law bad faith
- Personal Injury
- Product Liability Defense
- Products Liability
U.S. District Court, District of Montana, 2006
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 2008
North Dakota, 2012
U.S. District Court, District Court of North Dakota, 2012
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 2012
U. S. District Court, District of Wyoming, 2020
2006 – J.D. University of Montana School of Law
2001 – Hon. B.A. University of Toronto
Prior Experience (Employment)
Ms. Pavuk previously worked for the Hendrickson Law Firm in Billings, Montana.
Honors & Awards
The Vern Klingman Meritorious Act Award from the ACLU of Montana, February 1, 2007 (for Her Effort in Securing Clemency for Montanans Convicted of Violating the Sedition Act of World War I)
Leadership Montana – Class of 2021
Habitat for Humanity, Volunteer, 2007 – 2014
Habitat for Humanity, Board of Directors, 2011 – 2014
Youth Leader, American Lutheran Church, 2006-2007
American Bar Association
Montana Defense Trial Lawyers
Yellowstone Area Bar Association
State Bar of Montana
Presentations & Publications
Routinely presents topics related to employment law, including preventing harassment and discrimination, wrongful discharge and training of employees.
Presented at The Seminar Group’s 11th Annual Labor & Employment Law conference on March 15th & 16th at the Hilton Garden Inn, Billings.