Reports on the conference on Ethical Issues in Contemporary Human Resource Management, held in April 1996. Notes concerns raised at the conference relating to a lowering of employment standards. These included factors such as: insecurity and risk, transfer of risk and surveillance and control. Suggests a number of alternative ethical frameworks useful in an analysis of HRM, including such elements as: basic human, civil and employment rights, universalism and community of purpose. Considers methods of defending such an ethical focus from charges of utopianism, and suggests that ethical HRM will be a developing theme over the next few years.