From TMZ: Jay-Z gambled with his employees’ health and safety — this according to a new lawsuit filed against the rapper … by the Workers Compensation Board of New York.

According to the suit, obtained by TMZ, Jay-Z failed to pay workers’ compensation insurance for three months in 2009 — and sources close to the situation tell us, the insurance was supposed to cover domestic employees in Jay-Z’s house … cooks, maids, drivers … that sort of thing.

The government agency sued the rapper to collect $18,000 in fines for the transgression — and a court has since ordered Jay to pay up.

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