Using a SymbolAxis as domain axis on a horizontal plot, the gridband bars are drawn with default setup. But if the axis is set to be inverted, the gridbands do not show up. The bug appears to be that the band heights are computed as negatives so the rectangle does not draw.
A sort-of workaround is to turn off the symbol axis gridbands and set the XYPlot.setDomainTickBandPaint(paint), with the difference being the bands are lined up between tick marks instead of centered on tick marks.
Sample program that shows the problem is attached.