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September 22/29, 1999

Protection Under the Americans With Disabilities Act

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(12):1131-1132. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-12-jbk0922

To the Editor: The article by Mr Gostin and colleagues1 makes 2 elegant points concerning the ADA. First, the ADA is the only civil rights law in which even the definition of who is covered is a legal and linguistic mire. Second, under the ADA, the concept of direct threat cannot be a "best guess," but must be based on science—whenever it exists. However, I believe the authors give the wrong impression about the basic intent of the law when they write: "an individual must be unable to work in a range of jobs in order to meet the ADA's definition of disability."