US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose has granted class-action certification to a lawsuit which alleged that Apple, Intel, Google and Adobe Systems had conspired not to hire each other's employees.
About 64,000 technical professionals including software and hardware engineers, programmers, animators, digital artists, Web developers had alleged that their incomes were held low due to the agreement.
Koh's latest ruling follows an earlier ruling in April which rejected the demand to turn the lawsuit into a class action, which allow the employees to pursue the case a as a class.
The earlier ruling said that the employees failed to demonstrate that all or almost all class members were affected by the anti-solicitation agreements.
While granting class action status, Koh said that there is "considerable, compelling common proof" that the companies were engaged in antitrust behavior by agreeing not to hire each others' employees.
The ruling cited by Bloomberg reads, "The court finds that, based on the extensive documentary evidence, economic theory, data, and expert statistical modeling, plaintiffs' methodology demonstrates that common issues are likely to predominate over individual issues."
Three other companies named in the original suit including Intuit, Walt Disney's animation studio Pixar and Lucasfilm have already agreed to settle the claims tentatively.