A Californian judge has quashed attempts by technology giants Apple, Google, Intel, among others, to have a lawsuit concerning their hiring practises dismissed.
The firms are accused of conspiring to distort the labour market by engaging in a 'no poaching' deal.
The defendants, which include Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar have been accused of conspiring to limit worker salaries and mobility by agreeing not to pursue each others' employees.
Five former employees who are suing the group for violating claims brought under the Sherman Anti-trust Law and The Cartwright Act.
The companies had hoped to get the case dismissed but were refused on grounds of plausible interference.
"The fact that all six identical bilateral agreements were reached in secrecy among seven defendants in a span of two years suggests that these agreements resulted from collusion, and not from coincidence," Judge Lucy Koh was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The agreements mentioned in the suit involve the accused companies' management agreeing to not hire key staff from competitors and to limit pay awards for new employees.
Former LucasArts software engineer, Siddharth Hariharan, and four others attest that these 'no solicitation' agreements prevented them from earning higher wages.
The US Department of Justice investigated these same claims just two years ago, and agreed to an undisclosed settlement for anti-competitive practices. The DOJ case and the pending class action lawsuit are separate cases.