Employees allege wages were kept low through collusion between businesses.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been ordered to give a deposition in an antitrust case brought against the Cupertino giant and several other big names in tech.
The case has been brought privately on behalf of the employees of Google, Intel, Adobe Systems, Pixar, Intuit and Lucasfilm, as well as Apple.
The suit alleges the defendants violated antitrust laws by entering into agreements not to recruit each other’s staff.
The employees, whose roles range from sous chefs to engineers and administrators, argue their wages were kept artificially low because of such agreements.
However, lawyers for the companies claim the employees’ representatives have not been able to demonstrate all staff members' pay had been affected by the practice.
The organisations faced similar accusations from the US justice department in 2010, which was settled out of court.
US District Judge Lucy Koh, who is hearing the case in San Jose, California, told Apple’s lawyers that founder Steve Jobs was copied in on e-mails at issue in the case.
She said she also found it “hard to believe” Cook, who was Apple’s COO at the time, would not have been consulted about this type of agreement.
Koh said she was disappointed senior executives at the companies involved had not been deposed prior to the case entering her court, where she will decide whether it will be heard as a group lawsuit.
In addition to Tim Cook, Google chairman Eric Schmidt and Intel CEO Paul Otellini will also be deposed before the end of February.