Mustachioed and graying, dressed in the uniform of a full-time job he once had, Gonzalo Garcia is out in front of The Home Depot on Lake Worth Road most mornings, and it doesn’t take much to catch his eye.A braking pickup or the wave of a driver’s hand will send him and several other Hispanic day laborers rushing to the departing vehicle, their eyes bright with the possibility of a day’s work.

Garcia, at 49 a father of four, says he tends to hang back as the younger workers push forward. But his counterparts often run, hoping to be chosen to paint, rip out drywall or lay bricks. The onslaught, a symptom of the voracious competition for dwindling numbers of day jobs, can be surprising to the unsuspecting, and even frightening. In recent years, the Hispanic day laborers have become as much a part of the scenery at The Home Depot west of Lake Worth as the fence and hedges, and as more lose full-time jobs in construction or landscaping, their numbers seem to have grown.

The Home Depot is not pleased. Blaming the job seekers for causing accidents and driving away customers, the world’s largest home improvement retailer has been working to discourage them from rushing vehicles in the driveways and trespassing in the parking lot. But the need for work keeps pushing the men forward, and the result has been an entrenched standoff. Garcia, an undocumented Guatemalan national who had a regular job in construction until being laid off late last year, said he and the others only want to work and have no other way to find steady pay.

“We’re not here because we want to be here,” he said in Spanish. “We need to be.”

After repeated warnings, meetings and occasional trespassing arrests, the sheriff’s office has resorted in recent months to undercover stings to try to keep the laborers in place. The workers are allowed to stand on the sidewalk or along the shoulder in front of the store, which is considered public property. But sheriff’s officials say they get into trouble when they block the entrance or wander past the hedges into the parking lot.

The day laborers are almost all Guatemalans and admit good-naturedly that they occasionally trespass onto The Home Depot’s property. They say there is no other way for them to get the attention of potential hirers. “We’re here for our families,” said Moyno, 22, who came to Florida from Guatemala a year and a half ago and declined to give his last name because he is in the country illegally. “I have a father and mother to support.”

The vast majority of these guys are hard working and honest. But the bottom line is most of these workers are illegal aliens. You can blame who ever you’d like, (Democrats and Republicans) for creating and maybe even encouraging this situation. But these guys are here illegally, pay no taxes, and send the money south of the border. You would think we had a Government Agency in charge of illegal aliens that wouldn’t turn a blind eye to this, but we do, and you have to wonder why.

  1. LibertyLover says:


    I asked my company lawyer about the differences. At first he said, “There is no difference.” Then he scratched his head and said, “Maybe.” Then he directed me to this site.

    After reading this site, he said, “It depends on what kind of the mood the IRS is in that day.”

    Definition of an Independent Contractor, according to the IRS:

    People such as lawyers, contractors, subcontractors and auctioneers who follow an independent trade, business, or profession in which they offer their services to the public, are generally not employees. However, whether such people are employees or independent contractors depends on the facts in each case.

    Note that Contractors fall under the definition of Independent Contractor — they are one and same. However, the IRS says the distinction between an IC/C and an employee is hazy. The difference comes into play in whether the customer controls the day-to-day activities of the worker — in which case they are treated as employee.

    Unless you are using the same type of labor over and over, you can probably get away with calling them a (independent) contractor.

  2. Paddy-O says:

    # 62 LibertyLover said, “The difference comes into play in whether the customer controls the day-to-day activities of the worker — in which case they are treated as employee.”

    This is one of the key tests. Are you specifying only the final result or, the methods used to achieve the result?

  3. Mr. Fusion says:

    #62, Liberty,

    Good post.

    The next page on that site links to some more requirements about being a contractor.

    Consequences of Treating an Employee as an Independent Contractor
    If you classify an employee as an independent contractor and you have no reasonable basis for doing so, you may be held liable for employment taxes for that worker (the relief provisions, discussed below, will not apply). See Internal Revenue Code section 3509 for more information.

    I think this and other information on the IRS site backs up my contention that you can not just arbitrarily call someone a “contractor” and be absolved of responsibilities. In the cases outlined above, they still count as an employee.


Bad Behavior has blocked 13460 access attempts in the last 7 days.