My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Washington

I’m posting this question on behalf of a family member who lost his job after 6+ years with a small company a few months ago. Perhaps there is nothing he can do but any feedback would be appreciated.

My relative had an ok relationship with his boss except that the boss would sometimes ask for personal favors. It was strictly an employer/employee relationship. They never considered each other to be friends outside of work and my relative was somewhat intimidated by his boss, who was known to be highly persuasive.

Early last year his boss used his position of power to coerce my relative to make a substantial loan of his credit for a term of 1 month. It was a handshake agreement and was supposed to be kept secret. The boss had a reputation for high stakes casino gambling. Based on everything I know about this relative, it was highly unusual for him to loan anyone money. He has struggled financially all his life. Probably he feared having to find another job in a tough economy.

After 6 months and several attempts to collect, my relative reported the issue to others in the company. At their request, he listed his grievances with the boss in a written report. The boss did not deny the debt and the company is currently paying it down in installments. At the time of my family member’s complaint, it appeared that the boss was losing his controlling interest in the company to a vendor due to other unpaid debts. After apparently winning that dispute, the boss promptly terminated my family member in front of 1 witness, stating that the written complaint was a violation of trust and he could no longer work with my relative, but they would officially state “lack of work” as the reason.

WAC 296-126-070 states: “No employer shall discharge or in any other way discriminate against or penalize any employee who seeks information or a hearing concerning variance requests by an employer or information concerning employment standards, or who has filed a complaint alleging a violation of any employment standard.” (emphasis added)

Does anybody think this could be a wrongful termination or that any other action might be warranted? Could the code mentioned above apply?