Technology workers have asked an appeals court not to approve a US$324.5 million settlement in Silicon Valley's controversial employee hiring case, according to a document filed Tuesday.

The move by the plaintiffs puts them in alignment with an earlier decision by Judge Lucy Koh of the federal district court in San Jose to throw out the settlement on the grounds that it wouldn't pay the workers enough. Attorneys for the defendants -- Apple, Google, Adobe and Intel -- subsequently appealed Koh's decision.

"Plaintiffs of course believe that the proposed settlement they submitted to the district court warranted approval," said the filing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. However, they recognized the district court's discretion to reject the settlement and deferred to Koh's judgment.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement agreement, if a deal is not reached, the defendants and plaintiffs must return to litigating, the motion said. A trial date is set to begin April 9 of next year. However, the appeals court could still take any number of actions, which may include ordering Judge Koh to accept the settlement as it stands.

The suit accuses executives at the technology companies of entering into secret agreements not to hire each other's workers. The plaintiffs, suing on behalf of roughly 64,000 engineers and other tech workers, say those agreements drove down their wages and restricted their mobility.

Google and Adobe declined to comment. Apple and Intel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is [email protected]