A local authority fired a lifeguard after he picked up an eight-year-old boy, spun him in the air and then threw him into the deep end of a pool.
The lifeguard and swimming instructor brought an action for unfair dismissal. But the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) dismissed his claim, arising from the incident on February 3 last year.
The incident was captured on CCTV and a report carried out by a council-appointed independent investigator says the footage shows the boy - who is able to swim - resisting and kicking out.
"He then lifts the boy up in the air and throws him into the pool backwards. The boy lands quite a distance away."
Dismissing the lifeguard's claim for unfair dismissal, WRC adjudication officer Seán Reilly said that it is difficult to understand how anyone could consider what occurred "to be other than extremely irresponsible, potentially dangerous and totally inappropriate behaviour".
He said: "The behaviour is actually made worse by the fact that it occurred in a swimming pool, where because of the inherent safety risks, safety and safe behaviour is paramount.
"Even worse again - it involved children in a swimming pool, where the safety risks are even greater and the duty of care towards the children is much greater."