Android co-founder Andy Rubin who helped create the world's most ubiquitous mobile operating system was accused of misconduct shortly before leaving Google in late 2014, The Information reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. Google's Human Resources department is said to have received a complaint against Mr. Rubin that alleged its then-Senior Vice President had an "inappropriate relationship" with one of his subordinates, a notion that his spokesperson Mike Sitrick denied following the emergence of this report. The rebuttal didn't encompass the allegation that Mr. Rubin was involved with a fellow Googler but claimed that any such relationship was not only consensual but didn't involve a direct subordinate, adding that the former Android boss was never informed of any misconduct allegations while working at the Mountain View, California-based tech giant.
Sources with knowledge of the situation tell a different story, saying that the person who filed the original complaint against Mr. Rubin was later told that an internal probe into the matter recommended disciplinary action for the former executive. It's unclear whether any such action was ultimately taken or what the exact contents of the recommendation were. The internal investigation into his alleged misconduct is said to have revealed "bad judgment" and "improper" behavior on his part. Google's corporate policy doesn't allow employees to have a relationship with direct subordinates and requires them to report any such involvement, after which one of the two people in question are usually relocated to another division of the firm. While Mr. Rubin moved to oversee Google's robotics division in 2013, the allegations are understood to have surfaced next year, shortly before his departure from the Internet giant that he previously claimed was his own decision, citing an ambition to work in an environment that requires less corporate approvals for basic research and development.
Mr. Rubin is now said to have taken a leave of absence from Essential, his Palo Alto, California-based startup which recently launched its first product in the form of the Essential PH-1 Android smartphone. The latest report also reiterates previous estimates that the bezel-less handset is severely underperforming, as was already implied by a permanent $200 discount which it received shortly after launching in late summer. Mr. Rubin's leave of absence from Essential was prompted by personal reasons, according to some employees, but further details on the matter remain unknown.