Yoga Instructor Fired For Banning Facebook During Yoga Class … At Facebook

By David Cohen 

Telling Facebook employees to stay off Facebook is not a good way to keep a job at Facebook, as yoga instructor Alice Van Ness recently found out.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Van Ness was dismissed by fitness contractor Plus One Health Management after objecting to one of her students checking her phone twice during a class at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Van Ness told the Chronicle her class at Facebook was just beginning when she noticed a student in the front row using a cell phone, after which she asked the entire class to shut their devices off. The same student picked up her phone again halfway through the routine, and Van Ness gave her a dirty look. She wrote in a blog post:

I’m sure my face said it all. Really? Your email is more important than understanding your body? It’s more important than taking time for you? It’s more important than everyone else here?

Van Ness told the Chronicle the student left class for a few minutes and later complained to the fitness center’s managers, resulting in her dismissal two weeks later. The newspaper reported that her termination notice read:

We are in the business of providing great customer service. Unless a client requires us to specifically say no to something, we prefer to say yes whenever possible.

Van Ness told the Chronicle:

Hello: This is only Facebook. We’re not talking about the U.S. government here. We’re not talking about Russia is about to bomb us. We’re talking about Facebook. Something can’t wait half an hour?

The culture of these places is to let them do whatever they want, and I’m just not really OK with anarchy.

I understand the world still happens and there might be emergencies, but it’s like, can we have some sort of boundary, a line of what we’re not going to accept bringing into this class?

Readers: Do you think Plus One Health Management was justified in firing Van Ness, or do you think the yoga instructor was correct in trying to ban mobile devices during her class?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.