All security guards are entitled to rest breaks and the security industry is not exempt from Working Time Regulations.
This was the ruling of a Newcastle employment tribunal in the first case of its kind in the UK.
The claim for breaching working time regulations was brought on behalf of Gavin Ruddick by his trade union, the GMB, against Reliance Security Services Ltd.
The tribunal said that although the security industry is not subject to the law that requires workers have a 20-minute rest break every six hours, it must do "the next best thing", such as allow a number of shorter rest periods or one longer period.
It stated that if any company were to be as ridiculous as to prevent a security guard from going to the toilet, then it might be in breach of the Human Rights Act, for that would be degrading and inhuman treatment.
As well as claiming a breach of the Working Time Regulations, Ruddick alleged that he was victimised after launching his tribunal claim.
He was moved from his city-centre office to working in a car park portacabin, for which he received less pay.
Ruddick's five-day employment tribunal claim was successful on all counts. He awaits one final hearing to determine his compensation.