Michael Jackson Fined for Failing to Provide Workers' Comp Coverage

Michael Jackson might be able to carry a tune, but California labor officials say he isn't carrying workers' compensation insurance for his employees.

Although Jackson lives at a place called Neverland Valley Ranch, reality came crashing in earlier this month when the California Department of Industrial Relations fined Jackson $69,000 and issued a stop-work order after finding that Jackson did not have workers' compensation coverage for his 69 employees.

Jackson's representatives have told state officials that they are in the process of obtaining workers' comp insurance, according the Department of Industrial Relations. The stop-work order remains in effect until Jackson provides coverage.

Even so, work goes on at Neverland legally.

Investigators from the agency recently visited Jackson's ranch and verified that no one working at the ranch was an employee of Jackson. According to the agency, Neverland security is being handled by members of the Jackson family and a local veterinarian has put the animal caregivers Jackson is known for having a menagerie on his payroll.

Jackson Also Owes Back Wages

Jackson, who was acquitted on child molestation charges last year, also is in a bit of hot water for his failure to pay his workers.

The Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Labor Standards Enforcement recently fined Jackson $100,000 for being several months behind on wage payments to his employees.

According to state officials, representatives for Jackson are determining the amount of back pay owed to his employees and will distribute those wages directly to employees today. A March 7 letter from the state to Jackson put the amount owed to Jackson's employees at more than $306,000.

Acting California Labor Commissioner Robert Jones said there is no need for the state to take legal action against Jackson right now.

"As directed in a letter on March 7 demanding payment of wages, arrangements have been made to ensure that all employees are paid wages owed them," Jones said.

While Jones pointed out that Jackson is taking the appropriate steps to remedy the problem, he also noted that Jackson could be facing more fines based on the amount he owed in back wages.

"The total amount in back wages paid will be known when the payroll process is completed and we have verified Jackson's records," Jones said. "[The Department of Industrial Relations] will then calculate the total amount in penalties and act to ensure they are paid. Verified back wage and penalty amounts should be available early next week."

Jones added that the state "will be calculating and collecting the exact amount due the state for Mr. Jackson's failure to have required workers' compensation insurance coverage for his employees."

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