Five new high tech firms have been hit with new lawsuits, and a few have already been forced to shut down.
The lawsuits allege they illegally offered discounts to women on certain types of clothes and products.
The suits allege the companies had women buy certain items that are considered to be the bare minimum to pay for a basic wardrobe.
The lawsuits were filed in a California court on Monday.
The names of the five firms were not immediately available.
The firms have faced similar lawsuits in California, Colorado, Massachusetts and Virginia.
“It’s a really scary situation, it’s really scary,” said Mary E. Brown, a consumer advocacy attorney in San Francisco.
“These lawsuits have been filed on a regular basis and these lawsuits have gotten to the point where the suits have taken a toll on the companies.
We have not seen that before.”
The new lawsuits were brought against brands such as Gap, Zara, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Prada.
The companies are also named in lawsuits against companies such as Bose, Johnson & Johnson, and others.
The suits filed in the California court seek unspecified damages and class-action status for women who purchased items from the five companies, as well as damages for the company’s employees, including health care costs.
The companies’ attorneys said they were working with lawyers from the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACAA), a consumer rights group.
But a representative from the attorneys for Gap did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The attorneys for Prada and Abercronie declined to comment.
The new cases come amid a national trend of lawsuits targeting women in the fashion industry.
Last month, fashion brand Prada was ordered to pay $100 million in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court.
Last year, the National Women’s Law Center announced a $5 million class-wide settlement for consumers who bought items at Gap, Bose and others that are designed to look like traditional pants.
The suit also names retailers such as J. Crew and Target, who have denied the products’ claim that they have reduced the costs of a woman’s basic wardrobe by allowing women to buy clothing at discount rates.
A recent study from the University of Texas at Austin estimated that women spend $2 billion a year on clothes, including underwear and socks.
The suits also raise questions about how far consumers are willing to go to buy what is considered a bare minimum, said Lisa G. Wolk, an attorney with the National Consumers League.
Wolk said it’s “incredibly disappointing” that the suits allege women should be able to buy anything they want.
I think that the consumer has every right to buy whatever they want, she said.
“The law is there for everybody, and it’s not being used to discriminate.
It’s being used for everyone.”
The lawsuit comes as more companies are coming under scrutiny from consumer groups over their gender-based pricing practices.
In a report released last month, the consumer advocacy group said that retailers such in Target, Aberlour and Macy’s have offered discounts on clothes and other merchandise to female customers that are meant to help offset costs associated with pregnancy, childbirth and other maternity care.
Target and Aberlou have said they have no plans to change the policies, but are investigating the suit.