"There should be no discrimination against workers based on real or perceived HIV status," Charles said Tuesday, while announcing that inspectors from his ministry would be monitoring workplace issues.
The labour minister was presenting the report of Parliament's joint select committee on the National Workplace Policy on HIV to the House of Representatives.
In a stern warning to employers, the labour minister said the "House will not accept" the approach of testing potential employees for HIV.
"There is no justification for any HIV/AIDS screen for the purposes of excluding from employment or work. HIV/AIDS screening must not be required for a job application," Charles said.
The labour minister, however, said that the policy does not preclude informal consent between employers and potential employees, noting that everyone must endeavour to know their HIV status.
The National Workplace Policy on HIV is a framework for action by government, employers and workers to deal effectively with HIV at the workplace.
"Several workers have lost their jobs because they have been affected by HIV, and several workers have moved from the workplace because other workers are said to be affected by HIV," Charles told the House.
He added: "There is an all-round discomfort at the workplace and it is said that a number of persons have not been employed because they either refuse to be tested or it is suspected that they may have HIV."
No legal footing
But while the labour minister has made clear government's policy on HIV in the workplace, it has no legal footing.
Charles said the Ministry of Labour would ensure that the appropriate legislation was drafted and enacted to "create a legal framework for HIV at the workplace".
In its current form, the policy is to guide workers and employers about how to treat the issue.
"It is to assist in the development of a caring, supportive and responsible working environment that will protect all workers," Charles said.
"It is expected that the policy will strengthen the legal framework for dealing with HIV and will ensure the mechanisms are enforced to protect workers from the stigma and the discrimination they now suffer at the workplace," Charles added.
The age group 14-49 is the most seriously affected by HIV/AIDS, official statistics say.