In 2013, following rancorous disputes between the Obama Administration and congressional Republicans, the federal government partially shut down from October 1 through October 16. Note the word "partially" - since a total shutdown would have resulted in unprecedented chaos, federal employees were divided into two groups. "Non-excepted" employees performed supposedly non-essential government functions, and were told to stay home during the shutdown. "Excepted" employees - prison guards, border agents, and various other groups employed in safety and protective functions - still had to work. Unfortunately for those employees, it was unclear at the time when, exactly, they would be paid for this work.
Since the 1990s, discrimination against federal employees based on their sexual orientation has been prohibited. However, up until recently, the protections didn't extend to federal workers who identify as transgender. As we discussed in our previous post -- "President may issue executive order on workplace harassment" -- President Obama decided to take matters into his own hands and broaden protections for LGBT workers.