David H. Miller - A Trusted Wage and Hour Attorney
Location: Denver, Colorado
Phone: 303-466-3529, 970-372-0834, 866-701-7302
It’s called “wage theft,” and it’s a transgression that robs hard-working Coloradans of hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
David H. Miller has dedicated his practice at The Sawaya Law Firm to fighting against this activity by unscrupulous employers. He wins back the hard-earned dollars that rightfully belong to the people who worked for them. He only works on wage and hour cases where employers have not properly paid their workers.
When people come to David seeking to recover money they worked for but did not receive, their stories frequently reveal a pattern of misbehavior on the parts of the people who employ them. Sometimes workers are classified as salaried employees and therefore not paid overtime. Sometimes they are listed as independent contractors even though they are expected to work full-time. Sometimes they are threatened with firing if they don’t work extra hours for no pay.
Miller has seen them all.
Citing a 2014 report by the Colorado Fiscal Institute, which found that Colorado workers lose up to $750 million in unpaid wages yearly, Miller says, “The statistics are mind boggling. It’s hard to get your head around the fact that something approaching 50 percent of hourly workers are not properly paid for what they do.”
Miller is devoting his entire law practice at The Sawaya Law Firm to wage-and-hour law, a large portion of which deals with wage theft. He has been practicing law for decades in an unusually broad range of disciplines, but he considers his current efforts on behalf of workers to be his ideal job for the satisfaction that it brings.
“There are few things more satisfying than actually winning these cases for workers and getting them a meaningful remedy that can help them buy a car or put in the bank for their kids’ education,” he says. “This is the best job I can imagine. If I had any job to do, it would be this one here.”
Miller started his legal career in 1977, after receiving his J.D. from the University of Denver College of Law, working in a general-practice law firm in Breckenridge. It was there that David got his first trial experience and became partner. But ever since law school, he had wanted to be a civil-rights lawyer, and in 1983 he got an offer he couldn’t refuse: a job as legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Colorado affiliate in Denver. He took the job, which combined litigation and management, and stayed with it for the next 13 years, achieving a number of noteworthy outcomes.
One of them, Romer v. Evans, was a landmark case that established that a state constitutional amendment to prohibit any governmental body from recognizing gays or bisexuals as a protected class violated their rights to participate equally in the political process. In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ruling.
Following his stint at the ACLU, Miller launched his own firm, which focused on plaintiffs’ civil-rights cases, and he continued there for five years until he joined Qwest Communications International as director of employment litigation. During his Qwest tenure, he was asked to serve as interim director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division in state government, a job he performed for several months. It was also during his time at Qwest that Miller began thinking about creating his own wage-and-hour law firm and when he first met Michael Sawaya at an ACLU function. The two lawyers began to talk about the possibility of a joined practice, and in 2011, that idea became a reality when Miller launched his wage-and-hour practice with Sawaya. It has continued to expand ever since.
“So it’s been a fascinating evolution over the years,” Miller says, looking back over his career. “Working first as a general litigator; then at a civil-rights nonprofit nongovernmental agency, the ACLU, as a plaintiffs’ civil-rights lawyer; then as a private civil-rights plaintiffs’ lawyer; then as a defense employment lawyer; and then as a government lawyer; and now specializing in wage and hour.”
Throughout his career, Miller has maintained a consistent dedication to legal justice and continues to focus his efforts on that cause on his own time. He remains committed to the ACLU, does volunteer work for the organization, and serves on its legal panel. He also serves as general counsel, pro bono, for Teaching Humane Existence, an organization devoted to striking a balance between sex-offender treatment and public safety.
He and his wife are active in the Rocky Mountain Nature Conservancy and enjoy outdoors activities including snowshoeing, fly fishing, and hiking.
If you think you were not paid what you are owed, contact The Sawaya Law Firm for help.