In 2023, social media is used by a vast majority of Americans. The 2023 Census reported there were roughly 334,233,854 people in the country on January 1. Did you know close to 90% of Americans use and/or have a social media account?

According to Demandsage, the US has roughly 302.35 million active social media users. This equates to about 90% of the American population. With social media becoming more ubiquitous by the day, is there any protection for Iowans, in the workplace, when it comes to what they post, where they post, and can employers ask for your social media usernames/passwords?

Unsplash - Sara Kurfess
Unsplash - Sara Kurfess

Social Media Privacy Laws in Employment

Many employers have developed some kind of workplace policies regarding social media. This is normally done so they can review and regulate what you're sharing and/or posting, even if your account is set to private, according to Justia Law Center

There is no federal law preventing employers from asking for employees’ or applicants’ social media usernames and passwords or requiring employees or applicants to share any social media information that is not publicly available.

While there is currently no federal law in place protecting employees and their social media accounts, over half of the states have created various types of laws to protect employees and those applying for a job.

Is Iowa one of these states?

Arkansas currently has workplace privacy laws involving social media. These laws generally protect Arkansas employees from being required to share more of their social media information and activity than is publicly available, according to Justia Law Center.

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Deleware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin all have workplace privacy laws involving social media.

Iowa does not currently have laws in place protecting employees and their social media accounts, according to Justia Law Center.

What Does This Mean?

Obviously, if you post something that you want the general public to see, an employer can easily find and review what you've posted. Anyone in the world can do that. In Iowa, if your profile is private, it is not illegal for an employer to ask to see your social media posts or social media history.

You can always just say "No, you may not" and see what happens next and deal with the repercussions but in Iowa, it is not illegal for an employer to at least inquire about your social media presence. It should also be noted that if you're using company equipment aka a company laptop or computer, the employer can monitor whatever they'd like on that equipment.

According to Worktime, an employer is required to at least inform you about monitoring.

An employer is required to inform employees about the monitoring, except when an employee uses a company device. Under U.S. law, activities conducted on an employer's device are not considered private, so in these cases, the employer may not need to inform employees.

*I am not a lawyer and this is in no way legal advice regarding social media privacy at the workplace. You're advised to consult with a lawyer if you believe you've been wrongly inquired/terminated for your social media presence*

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