According to The Information, Rubin left Google shortly after an investigation found that he had maintained an “inappropriate relationship” with a woman who worked under him and filed a complaint to HR.
No one is saying what that relationship was and Rubin’s spokesperson Mike Sitrick said that any relationship that Rubin had while at Google was consensual. It is also not clear though why you would complain to HR about a consensual relationship.
Google never told Rubin he engaged in any misconduct while at Google and he did not, either while at Google or since, Sitrick said.
Rubin is said to have told Essential employees of his leave of absence on Monday after The Information informed Sitrick of its story.
The woman who filed the complaint worked in the Android division run by Rubin, which would make any personal relationship between the two violate Google policy.
The company requires employees to disclose such relationships so that one of them can be moved to another division. Rubin left the Android department in March 2013 to lead Google’s efforts in robotics, but the HR investigation is said to have taken place in 2014.
That investigation, according to The Information, concluded that “Rubin’s behaviour was improper and showed bad judgement”.
Rubin founded Danger, the company behind the T-Mobile Sidekick, and co-founded Android before it was bought out by Google. Essential, his new company, is an attempt to build out an ecosystem of premium hardware products, but its first launch appears to have been a flop — the otherwise well-received Essential Phone has seen heavy discounts in recent weeks.
Essential confirmed that Rubin had stepped aside and said that Niccolo de Masi, Essential’s president, would be in charge for the time being.
“At our last regularly scheduled board meeting earlier in November, Andy asked for a leave of absence to deal with personal matters”, an Essential spokesperson said. “The Board agreed and our President, Niccolo de Masi, will continue to run day to day operations at Essential.”