This study examines age-dependent employment protection by extending the theory of equilibrium unemployment to account for a finite working life-time. The potential employment gains related to employment protection are high for older workers. But higher firing taxes for older workers increase job destruction rates for younger generations. Furthermore, when firms cannot ex ante age-direct their search, the impact of each generation of unemployed workers on the average return on vacancies leads to equilibrium inefficiency, such that the optimal age-profile of firing taxes is hump-shaped. If human capital of older workers is more specific than general these results are enhanced.