Laboratory personnel must feel that ethical standards of conduct are a priority in the laboratory. Management must support this concept not only during training but also in daily communication to employees. Further, review of staff experience and training of employees is necessary to reinforce the need for ethics. This paper discusses defensibility and ethics in the laboratory, and the goals of assuring that the reporting of laboratory data will be performed in an ethical manner and will provide legal defensibility of data and laboratory procedures. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.