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Apple, Google Lose Bid To Avoid Trial On Tech Worker Lawsuit

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SAN FRANCISCO, March 28 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday rejected a request from Apple, Google and two other tech companies to avoid a trial in a class action lawsuit alleging a scheme to drive down wages.

Tech workers sued the companies alleging they conspired to avoid competing for each other's employees in order to avert a salary war. Trial is scheduled to begin in May.

Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe asked for a judgment in their favor without a trial, arguing that any no-hire agreements between the companies were reached independently, and were not part of an overarching conspiracy. U.S. District JudgeLucy Koh in San Jose, Calif., however, rejected that argument.

"That the agreements were entered into and enforced by a small group of intertwining high level executives bolsters the inference that the agreements were not independent," wrote Koh.

A representative for Adobe could not immediately be reached for comment. An Intel spokesman said the company is studying the ruling, and representatives for Google and Apple declined to comment.

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