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'Dog Whisperer' Sued For Being Alcoholic Unfriendly

11/10/2010 10:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

"Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan is not an alcoholic's best friend -- not even close ... according to allegations in a new lawsuit obtained by TMZ.

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The former Executive Director of the Cesar and Ilusion Millan Foundation claims he took a leave of absence to seek treatment for alcoholism in June, returned to work the next month clean and sober ... only to be stripped of his title and ultimately fired.

Sean Hawkins claims in his lawsuit filed today in L.A. County Superior Court ... it's even worse, because he was assured before he took the leave of absence that his job would be safe.

Hawkins alleges the very first day he returned to work, company big wigs stripped him of his title.  Then a few weeks later he says he was given an ultimatum -- a pay cut or the door.  Hawkins says when he asked for a little time to think about it, he was fired.

Hawkins is suing for unspecified damages.

Cesar's rep could not be reached for comment.


72 COMMENTS

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46.

Hubcap    

WOW! Very easy to tell those who know about alcoholism and those who have no clue yet pop off at the mouth as if they are an authority on addiction.

1420 days ago
47.

hypnoticmix    

I think this is silly in a day and age where the public roots for celebrity's who are taking the initiative to get their $#!+ together. IMO this may have caused a minor Ooo and Ahh towards the show but in the long run it would have been fine. People like him. He has a huge following. He knows what the heck he's talking about. I hope he gets signed by another network.

1420 days ago
48.

steve    

Well, they will pay for this mistake, it's illegal. If you don't let people get help for problems, they will keep it secret(apparently very well in his case). Then the liablity becomes the companies when something goes wrong. I wounder if Cesar new about this.

1420 days ago
49.

James    

TMZ needs to do some digging into Sean Hawkins' history. Dude is BAD NEWS. find out why he can't come back to Texas.

1420 days ago
50.

lawyer    

SSinOC is exactly right. This does set a bad precedent, and that is why it is illegal in California. Alcoholism is considered a disability under California state law, and when you are seeking proper treatment for that disability, you are protected.

1420 days ago
51.

timothy    

i like the SHOW because we all know (or should) that he does NOT have a 100% success rate as claimed. he only chooses dogs that are fairly easily fixed. and the dog whisperer is a rip off of the horse whisperer, hell they whisper everything from ardvarks to zebras these days. (even ghosts) it's just s nice entertaining way to kill time nothing more. what they did on face value is illegal and they guy will win unless they have hard evidence, even then if he's getting treatment it's illegal to fire him.

1420 days ago
52.

CHECK IT OUT    

TMZ - there is a story here. This Hawkins guy was involved in some ENRON stuff, some embezzelment, some fraud...the list goes on and on. The only mistake CM corp did was not doing enough due dillegence on this guy BEFORE they hired him the first time. He actually allowed an innocent person to take the fall for his embezzelling in TX. Guy is BAD NEWS.

1420 days ago
53.

Teri    

You can say what you want about Caesar, but his training is great. I have used some of his ideas, and they worked like miracles. Being an alcoholic doesnt make you a bad person.
He will be back, better than ever. He doesnt need that company.
He will get alot of support from his viewers.
You people that get on here to bash someone, need to look at your own lives.

1420 days ago
54.

robs    

Not enough information to comment on the article so I'll just say, if I were a dog and my owner was like david#10, I would be jumping fences trying to get away too.

1420 days ago
55.

John777    

SSinOC: Maybe you should be afraid to become a substance abuser? Why should ANY employer have to keep an employee, ANY employee on staff if they have shown they might not be trust worthy. It's not fear of going into rehab, it should be fear of becoming an addict in the first place. And to Sean Hawkins: How's that gutter working for you?

1419 days ago
56.

Gemini    

Well that kind of action will certainly put some zing into the life of someone newly clean and sober .... sounds like some doggie doodoo to me ....

1419 days ago
57.

A.J.B.    

Well said Seanw!

1419 days ago
58.

JackieOH    

@Seanw: Clearly, you know little about substance abuse and recovery with your bigoted, ill-informed comments. Recovery is a lifetime affair. Should the person in recovery be relegated to second-class status the rest of his life? Should he be discriminated against on the job? It seems he volunteered for treatment, so a good employer would be supportive and not seek to humiliate or punish the employee by demoting him. This reeks to high heaven and I hope he wins his case. PS- I hope you are not in a supervisory position of any kind because you must be hell to work with.

1419 days ago
59.

JoAnne Jackson    

Sean Hawkins left a trail of destruction in Texas. Not only did he run several non-profit animal organizations into the ground, he treated employees like they were less than dirt. Even when Sean drove Saving Animals Acroos Boarders into bankrupcy, he was blaming everyone else but himself.There are many people in Texas, myself included, who are victims of Sean,s climb to fame and are now enjoying his fall. Sean is the ultimate con artist. If Cesar had checked he would have found that Sean had been fired from Fund for Animals and Spay Neuter Assistance Program for financial inproprieties. When he started Saving Animals, it only took a year for him to go bankrupt, leaving behind enormous debt and people who supported him, holding the bag. Sean is banned from operating any non-profit in Texas. Everything I have said can be verified and if Cesar's lawyers are any good, they will look into Sean's background and find a whole lot of ammunition to use against him. Sean is going after Cesar because he finally has found a big fish that he thinks he can squeeze for money. I hope "What goes around, comes around" does.

1419 days ago
60.

Sendai    

Victoria Stillwell and Cesar have two different training methods. I've seen Stillwell. If a dog acts up, what does she do? She takes the dog out of the situation as if the dog understands the human version of timeout. If a dog acts up on the walk, what does Victoria do? Turns around the dog and walks away then back, giving the dog power of saying o.k. I'm going to act up on the walk, why don't you just walk us away. Cesar on the other hand keeps walking. He keeps the dog moving "forward". He doesn't give the dog control. He doesn't give treats all the time like Stillwell. He teaches you how to use the leash right. How to tug. When to release. Does it work? Yes, I've done it. My Chihuahua is great on the walk in some things. But she tries to cower when someone is behind us. I make my girl go forward. I won't let her bulk. Stillwell would take my dog and walk us back over and over every time it happened. My dog doesn't like puddles. I've learned to say tough. You're going to walk through them and she does, on the leash. My dog would cower on the leash with a puddle, Stillwell would turn my dog around and walk back to the puddle over and over. I don't like Stillwell. With Cesar dogs do what they do right because they want to. Not for bribes like Stillwell offers.

From what I've seen of Milan he's NOT cruel!He doesn't yell at owners like Stillwell. He does NOT use shock collars unless absolutely necessary, puts it on the lower setting and only for a second and he teaches the owner when TO use it and when NOT to use it. Lazy owners prefer using shock or drugs because they're...well...lazy and if they won't listen to Cesar for more than a couple hours, that's not the dog's fault or Cesar's.

Is Floppy still jumping dog park fences? If so, it's your fault for letting him do it and not being consitant in keeping him from doing it because you think you know so damn much. Quick fixes as you call them work temporarily when an owner isn't consistant, David. Cesar still wanted to help but you took it as a threat when Cesar was persistant. Since you know so damn much, you train Floppy not to jump dog park fences for food because he doesn't respect you enough to stay with you. Oh and by the way, David, some of Ceasar's Pit Bulls were former fighters who are pefect angels now. You can't rehab a Red Zone fighting Pit Bull if you don't know what you're doing can you, David!

To the person raving about English chick Victoria Stilwell? I've seen how she bullies her clients with her stupid meetings and I've seen her yell at 'bad' owners. I've never seen Cesar bully clients on air and I doubt anyone would put up with it for the sake of t.v. exposure. But he's not going to agree with everything they say either especially when owners blame their dogs instead of themselves for the problems the owner causes.

If I had the chance to meet anyone in the world important? It would be the Dog Whisperer AND Daddy whose a Pit Bull with natural charm just like Caesar.

That other gentleman is right. The ex lush trying to be greedy and wants to sue, had a job when he returned. He thought he didn't have to do anything and everything was going to be handed back to him. It wasn't, he was given a choice in things, he chose not to do it, so Ceasar and his people made the decision for him. Drunks no matter WHAT position don't deserve any favors when it comes to a job back. You're not more entitled to have it if you're in an exec position as opposed to just the floor sweeper and when you're an ex drunk, you have to earn your way back. It's not a right but a priviledge to be called back which Cesar didn't have to to do! I'm so darn sick and tired of people complaining about their jobs who ARE sober, who don't appreciate having a job and are amazed when they discover that they are expendable, but here you have a recovering boozer who thinks he doesn't have to earn his place back who can't decide what he wants? He wants to profit off Millan and if it goes into court I hope the Mr. Hawkins loses.Cesar fired the guy because he was unwilling to do what he needed to do to keep his job and surprise, surprise, the Dog Whisperer wasn't going to cater to an alchoholic's manipulation.

Hope you win Cesar.

With so many people out of work, obviously this Sean Hawkins is nothing but an opportunist, who didn't appreciate having a job to return to instead of being outright fired, thinks he's entitled to use his 'problem' as an excuse to always have his job, and doesn't think he has to earn his way back to what he had before he left. But then Mr. Hawkins is really no different than the average whiny worker who complains about a job that they're ungrateful to even having in these bad times and the only reason why more people don't sue being fired is one thing. Unemployment Benefits. Must be nice to sit on your lazy ass getting paid for nothing until it runs out to find it won't be renewed so you actually have to go find work.

Cesar did this man a favor and the mutt bit the hand that fed him. Now's the time where we snap our figers, point and say to Mr. Hawkins a firm "Shhhhht!"

1419 days ago
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