Ask Facebook Fitness Company for Formal Apology to Fired Yoga Teacher

Target: Chris Ciatto, CEO of Plus One Health Management

Goal: Issue a formal apology for yoga instructor who was fired for enforcing her policy requiring students to turn off their cell phones during class.

When yoga instructor Alice Van Ness gave a student who answered a text in class a look of disbelief, she didn’t expect to get fired for it. The instructor worked for Plus One Health Management, a parent company that manages the Facebook Fitness Center, where the incident took place, and was fired two weeks later for “making a spectacle.” She was not given a chance to defend herself or formally protest the decision.

Van Ness had a policy in her class of requiring students to turn off their cell phones, and Facebook does not require its employees to keep their phones on during work hours. At the time of the incident, Van Ness was demonstrating a difficult pose and when the student’s phone went off, she was more surprised than angry or upset that the student chose to answer her phone during a difficult pose.

Plus One and Facebook have refused to comment on the incident, but Van Ness insists that she’s happier now. However, she was wrongfully terminated for enforcing a completely understandable policy in her class: that students refrain from disturbing the rest of the class by using their cell phones in the classroom. By signing the petition below, you are asking Facebook and Plus One Health Management to issue a formal apology to Alice Van Ness, and assist her with securing another place of employment.


Dear Mr. Ciatto,

In this day and age, it is difficult to unplug from our many technological tools for very long. People always feel that they have to stay connected, no matter what, which can lead to health problems related to stress: diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. Yoga teacher Alice Van Ness was trying to help her students at the Facebook Fitness Center unplug from their busy lives for a half hour, and was fired when she gave a student a look for answering her cell phone in class.

Ms. Van Ness’s classroom policy required students to turn off their cell phones prior to class, and the text the student received was not an important one. In addition, Ms. Van Ness was in the middle of demonstrating a difficult pose, and while yoga isn’t a form of dangerous recreation, students can injure themselves if they are not paying attention to the teacher or are not fully concentrating on their pose.

I am asking you to issue a formal apology to Ms. Van Ness, and assist her as needed with procuring another position. She was only attempting to give her yoga students a safe place where they could relax, unwind, and disconnect from their technological tethers. That she was fired for looking at the student who disrupted her class is ridiculous, and only further enforces the public’s perception that we all need to be tethered to our electronics at all costs, which is extremely unhealthy, and completely unnecessary.


[Your Name Here]

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